Medial Branch Blocks
Facet joints in the spine are a common source of pain in the neck and back. Inflammation or arthritis in the joints can irritate the nerves and send signals of pain to the brain. The medial branch nerves are located in each facet joint and transmit the pain signals from these joints. An option for relieving and diagnosing facet joint pain are medial branch blocks, which we utilize at Allied Pain & Spine Institute in San Leandro, CA.
The spine has a facet joint between every two vertebrae to allow bending and twisting of the spinal column in the neck and back. Like all joints in the body, these small joints can be susceptible to inflammation and arthritis. When the facet joints are inflamed, they can cause intense pain that can be debilitating. Medial branch block injections are one option for identifying which nerves and facet joints are causing chronic neck and back pain.
Diagnosing Facet Joint Pain
Medial branch blocks contain local anesthesia and steroids. When the injection is placed next to the targeted medial nerve, it can block the transmission of the pain signal to the brain. To perform the procedure, the injection is guided by advanced imaging to deliver the medication to the precise location. This is an effective diagnostic tool to determine if the medial nerve is sending the pain signal – facet joints are very close together, and it is important to determine which joints may be causing pain before beginning treatment.
The local anesthesia may provide immediate pain relief, helping with the diagnosis of arthritis or facet syndrome. Steroids can provide pain relief by temporarily reducing inflammation, but it will not stop the inflammation forever. If the medial branch block injection is effective for relieving pain, other long-term treatments may be considered, such as medial nerve ablation.
If you have facet joint pain from arthritis or other inflammatory spinal conditions, medial branch blocks may be an option for diagnosing your condition and providing temporary pain relief. To learn more about our pain management injections and other treatments, contact us at Allied Pain & Spine Institute. Call our clinic in San Leandro, CA, to book your appointment.