Medial Branch Block

A medial branch block injection of numbing medicine which helps to determine the source of your pain and may relieve your pain for a brief time.  The injection bathes the medial branch nerves, which attach to the facet joints of your spine. These nerves hurt when facet joints are injured or diseased. The physician begins the procedure by injecting a local anesthetic to numb the skin and  tissue.  Next, your doctor guides a thin needle through the numbed tissue using a fluoroscope (a video x-ray) to help find your medial branch nerves. Then the physician injects numbing medicine onto the nerve which temporarily numbs the nerves. If this area is the source of your pain, you’ll feel immediate pain relief. Note that more than one level of the spine may need to be injected. When the procedure is finished, you’ll be watched for a brief time and then you can go home. You may feel pain relief for the next few hours. You may be asked to keep track of your pain level as the medicine wears off. If the medial branch block is successful, your physician can recommend a different procedure to provide long lasting relief. Your PCA physician will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.