A variety of acute and chronic conditions can cause inflammation to the facet joints causing irritation and pain. Facet joints are the bony framework of the spine.
A medial branch block is an injection of a strong local anaesthetic on the medial branch nerves that supply the facet joints thus providing immediate pain relief.
When Is This Procedure Conducted?
This procedure is conducted to reduce inflammation and pain related to the facet joints.
It can also help doctors identify exactly if the facet joints are the cause of pain and inflammation.
How Does This Procedure Work?
The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.
It is generally performed with you lying down on your stomach for back injections and on your side for neck injections.
Very small needles are placed along the bony landmarks that mark the location of the medial branch nerves. A small volume, usually about 0.3ml is injected along each nerve.
How Will I Feel After The Procedure?
If you have selected to be sedated for the procedure, you may feel a bit drowsy and you will require someone to drive you home.
After the injection, you may notice that the pain may be gone or considerably less. This is due to the effect of the local anaesthetic that lasts only for a few hours or a few days.
You will need to take it easy for a day or so and only perform activities that can be tolerated by you.
How Successful Is Medial Branch Block?
Medial branch blocks have been performed for many years with excellent results. The benefit of this procedure will generally occur several minutes following the procedure. You will be asked to record pain levels during the first couple of days to determine facet joints as the pain source.
Summary of Benefits of Medial Branch Block
- Immediate pain relief
- Temporary reduction of inflammation in the facet joints
- May help the doctor identify if the facet joints are the source of pain
- Provides with you with a better quality of life; ability to function in daily life without the restrictions previously caused by pain