MEDIAL BRANCH BLOCK
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Facet Joint are innervated or “supplied” by nerves called “medial branches”. These nerves carry the pain signals to the spinal cord and the signals eventually reach the brain, where the pain is noticed.
If the nerves are “blocked” or “numbed”, they will not able to carry pain sensation to the spinal cord. It is like temporarily cutting off “wires”. Therefore, if the pain is due to facet joint arthritis, you should have relief from pain and stiffness.
Once it is determined that the pain is indeed due to facet joint disease, we can use a procedure called “Radio-Frequency Ablation” and prevent the condition of pain information for several weeks to months.
So, in a way, medial branch block is a temporary and diagnostic procedure.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT AFTER PROCEDURE?
Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or quite less. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This may last only for a few hours. Your pain will return and you may have a “sore back or neck” for a few hours. Your pain will return and you may have a “sore back or neck” for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion. It is very important for you to keep a track of your pain and stiffness for you next 2 to 12 hours following injections. Your response to the injections will determine if the facets are the cause of your pain or not.
It is very important to keep a track of your pain and stiffness for the next 2 to 12 hours following injection by pain diary. Your response to the injections will determine if the facets are the cause of your pain or not.
The most common side effects is pain-which is temporary. The other risks involve, infection, bleeding, worsening of symptoms, spinal block, epidural block, etc.
Fortunately, the serious side effects and complications are uncommon.