Medial Branch Block

October 26, 2016

Medial branch nerves are small nerves that carry pain signals from the facet joints to the spinal cord. If the nerves are blocked or numbed, they cannot carry the pain sensation. Facet joint injections are often used to identify a pain source; however, the injections, and other treatments that may be tried, do not always provide lasting pain relief. In such cases, it can be beneficial to confirm that the facet joint is indeed the source of your pain. A medial branch block is an injection that can determine the exact location of your pain. A cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) or lumbar (lower back) medial branch block injection can anesthetize the facet joints and block the pain. The procedure often takes between 15 to 30 minutes. The injections are performed under flouroscopy (live x-ray). If you experience an appropriate duration of pain relief after a medial branch nerve block, you can be a candidate for a longer lasting injection procedure called radio frequency ablation.