Medial Branch Block

Medial Branch Block Injection

A Medial Branch Block injection is most commonly used as a diagnostic injection to determine if a radiofrequency ablation ("burning the nerves")will help with your back pain.  It is an injection that numbs the nerves that innervate the painful joints in your back (the facet joints).  This block is primarily used to help diagnose the source of your pain, thus it will not provide you with prolong pain relief.   If you have two successful diagnostic medial branch blocks we will submit the results to your insurance and obtain permission to perform a radiofrequency ablation which would hopefully provide you with longer lasting relief.

What are facet joints?

In your spine, the joints connecting each of your vertebrae are known as facet joints. They provide stability and like other joints in your body these joints are lined with cartilage that allow the joints to glide and move freely as you bend your back forward and backward.

Sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and arthritis can damage the facet joints. When the facet joints become inflamed, they can cause pain, soreness, and stiffness. Facet Joint Pain is a very common cause of neck and lower back pain.

The medial branch nerves are the tiny nerves that carry the pain signals from the spine to the brain.  They are primarily sensory nerves thus we can ablate these nerves without affecting your motor functions.  We can essentially “burn” these nerves which will help with the pain coming from the facet joints without causing any weakness in your legs.

Facet Joint Syndrome

This condition is a deterioration of the facet joints, which help stabilize the spine and limit excessive motion. The facet joints are lined with cartilage and are surrounded by a lubricating capsule that enables the vertebrae to bend and twist.

What to expect with the procedure?

All our injections are performed in a sterile manner using image guidance. You will first be comfortably positioned laying on your stomach. Please let us know before your schedule procedure if you require sedation. The majority of patients do not require sedation for this procedure; however, sedation does make it more pleasant.  After a sterilely cleaning the site to be injected, local anesthesia will be used to numb the skin. The needle will be placed using image guidance. Medication will then be administered, and needles removed. Band-aids will be placed, and you will be taken to the recovery room until you are ready for discharge home.  Before you leave we will ask you what percentage of relief you received from the procedure to determine if the facet joints are the source of your pain and to see if you may be a candidate for a radiofrequency of the medial branch nerves.

Is there another way to treat facet joint pain besides a radiofrequency ablation?

Yes.  We could potentially use regenerative therapy as an alternative treatment. Please refer to our regenerative therapy section for more information.

  • Other Treatments

  • Conservative Therapy
  • Joint Injection
  • Lumbar Epidural Injection
  • Lumbar Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
  • Medial Branch Block
  • MLS Laser Therapy
  • Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
  • Regenerative Therapy
  • Sacroiliac Injection (SI)
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation For Diabetic Foot Pain
  • Sympathetic Nerve Block
  • Trigger Point Injection