Medial Branch Nerve Block

Medial Branch Nerve Block

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Medial branch nerves are small nerves that feed out from the facet joints (joints located between and behind adjacent vertebrae) in the spine and carry signals from those joints to the brain. Using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance), an anesthetic is injected near your medial nerves to temporarily interrupt the pain signal being carried.

A Medial Branch Nerve Block is a diagnostic procedure, meaning it is used to identify your pain source. If you have the appropriate duration of pain relief after the medial branch nerve block, you may be a candidate for Medial Branch Nerve Ablation (an injection procedure in which a heat lesion is created on certain nerves with the goal of interrupting the pain signal to the brain, which can last nine to fourteen months).

Who is a candidate for Medial Branch Nerve Block?

  • People who suffer from pain or tenderness in the low back
  • People whose pain increases with twisting at the waist or extending the lower back
  • People whose pain moves to the buttocks and hips or the back of their thighs (usually a deep, dull ache)
  • People who experience difficulty with certain movements such as standing up straight
  • People who have difficulty rotating their head
  • People who suffer from headaches, shoulder, and neck pain

Benefits of Medial Branch Nerve Block:

  • Minimally invasive
  • Non-surgical
  • Out patient procedure (no hospital stay)
  • Rapid relief
  • Temporary pain relief from facet joint related pain
  • Improved mobility
  • Knowing if you are a candidate for a Medial Branch Nerve Ablation

Risks of Medial Branch Nerve Block:

  • Local bleeding
  • Infection
  • Soreness at injection site
  • Nerve damage
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic
  • Medication side effects

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