If one or more joints are causing you pain, then it may be possible to focus treatment on them. A joint block is an injection of anaesthetic (numbing medicine) and steroid that is used to help diagnose and treat joint pain. 

Joints are either small joints like the facet joints that run up and down the spine or large joints like the hip joint.

To treat them we use specialised needles to deliver local anaesthetic or steroid medication such as cortisone injections to the joint causing you pain. 

If the pain goes away, then it means that the joint is the most likely source of the pain. Then longer-term interventional treatment can be focused on the joints causing your pain.


We use joint blocks for the following: 

  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ or jaw pain)

  • Shoulder joint pain

  • Facet joint pain of the spine in the neck, chest and lower back

    • Atlanto-occipital (C1/2) joint blocks

    • Neck pain (cervical facet joint pain)

    • Middle back and chest pain (thoracic facet joint pain)

    • Lower back pain (lumbar facet joint pain)

  • Hip joint pain

  • Sacroiliac joint pain (SI joint pain)

  • Sacrococcygeal joint pain

  • Coccyx joint pain

  • Knee joint pain

  • Feet joint pain

  • Ankle joint pain

  • Atlanto-axial joint pain

    • Elbow joint pain

    • Hand joint pain

    • Wrist joint pain

Almost any joint can be injected when performed by safe and experienced hands.


Joint injections may be performed to help diagnose whether those joints are the source of pain. For example, if a joint is injected with local anaesthetic, and the pain goes away while the anaesthetic is working, it means that that joint is the most likely source of the pain. The specialist will then be able to use longer-term interventional treatment to focus on the joints causing the pain.

  1. Boswell MV et al. Interventional techniques: evidence-based practice guidelines in the management of chronic spinal pain. Pain Physician. 2007;10:7-111.

  2. Bogduk N. Diagnostic nerve blocks in chronic pain. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2002;16:565-78.

  3. Levin M. Nerve blocks in the treatment of headache. Neurotherapeutics. 2010;7:197-203.

  4. Hildebrandt J. Relevance of nerve blocks in treating and diagnosing low back pain--is the quality decisive? Schmerz. 2001;15:474-83.

We recognise that your pain affects your ability to do the things that make you who you are. We manage the impact that pain has on your world.
— Dr Nick Christelis