Medial Branch Block
In a medial branch block, we numb the nerves surrounding the facet joints, so that they will be unable to carry pain to the brain. Patients who suffer from facet joint injuries may experience muscle tension that can be severe depending on the type of injury. A medial branch block is a diagnostic and therapeutic block to map out the location of the pain for further treatment.
What to expect
After a local skin anesthetic is injected, your physician at Cy-Pain & Spine PLLC will use a fluoroscopy (x-ray) machine to insert a needle near the nerves that supply the inflamed facet joint. Once the doctor is sure that the needle is correctly placed, a mixture of medicine consisting of a local anesthetic and steroid will be injected. This will effectively block the transmission of pain signals from the facet joint to the brain, enabling normal range of motion on the back with less pain.
After the procedure
After the procedure, you will be monitored for up to 30 minutes. When you are ready to go home, our staff will give you discharge instructions and ask you to track your pain. This helps your doctor determine how effective the injection is for your condition. You may feel immediate pain relief in your back for a limited period of time after the injection. However, don’t overwork yourself when you return to work the next day; it is always a good idea to check with our specialist.
The extent and duration of pain relief may depend on the amount of inflammation involved. If your pain returns within a short span of time, you may be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation of the medial branch nerves. This can provide a more sustained disruption of pain signals and often prolonged pain relief for months or even years to come.