No Pain No Gain: Medial Branch Blocks For Pain Relief

A medial branch block is a type of nerve block. The shot delivers immediate relief on the medial branch nerves that serve the facet joints. Facet joints provide stability between and around vertebrae in the spine. Inflammation in the facet joints can lead to low back pain that radiates across the body. Medial branch blocks can provide pain relief.

minnesota valley surgery center Does A Medical Branch Block Hurt Spinal Injections For Pain Management

During the medial branch block procedure

The medial branch block procedure is quick and nearly painless. While lying on the stomach, doctors will administer injections in the back. Doctors will monitor a patient’s vital signs, including blood pressure and oxygen. After the injection site is cleaned, a doctor will inject the medial branch nerves.

How bad does a medial branch block hurt?

Medial branch blocks are done after a local anesthetic has been injected with a small needle. The injection can feel like a slight pinch and burn, but the anesthetic will slowly render the area numb. During the procedure, patients won’t feel a thing. Instead, the needle used for the medial branch block will feel like a slight pressure.

What happens after a medial branch block injection?

Local anesthetic and the nerve block can provide pain relief for a few hours or even days. Patients are advised to rest for a couple of days after the procedure. Patients can perform everyday activities as tolerated. During the diagnostic testing period, the block’s effects are determined and last a few days.

Moving forward with long-term treatment

If a medial branch block injection works for a patient, doctors may recommend radiofrequency treatment of the medial branch nerves. Radiofrequency treatment provides long-term pain relief for up to one year. The minimally invasive procedure essentially burns the pain-causing nerve to eliminate the pain source.

Is everyone a candidate for medial branch blocks?

Medial branch blocks can help many people suffering from back pain. On rare occasions, patients can be allergic to the injected medications. Patients on blood-thinning medication or patients with an active infection should avoid medial branch blocks. Certain medications should be stopped a few days before the surgery. To learn more about whether a medial branch block is the right treatment option, speak with a pain management specialist.

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