The Use of Medial Branch Blocks for the Treatment of Back Pain

A medial branch block is a diagnostic and therapeutic nerve block of the medial branch nerves. The medial branches are the small nerves that innervate the zygapophyseal (facet) joints. They arise from the dorsal rami of the spinal nerves and branch off to innervate specific facet joints. Dr Brian Blick explains the process further and offers tricks to avoid the risks.

The role of this process:
The most common indications for a medial branch block are to diagnose or treat facet joint pain. Facet joint pain is a common cause of low back pain and neck pain.
Medial branch blocks can also be used to treat other conditions such as headaches, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis.
The goal of a medial branch block is to temporarily numbs the facet joints to help relieve pain.

It is important to note that while medial branch blocks can provide relief, they are not a cure for the underlying condition. Rather, they are meant to be used as a diagnostic tool or short-term treatment option.

How are medial branch blocks used to treat pain:
Medial branch blocks are a type of injection used to treat pain in the spine. The medial branch is a small nerve that runs along each vertebra in the spine. These nerves send signals from the spine to the brain, and they can be irritated by conditions such as arthritis or injury. When the medial branch is irritated, it can cause back pain.
A medial branch block is an injection of a local anesthetic into the area around the medial branch, which numbs the nerve and alleviates pain.
The procedure is usually carried out using x-ray guidance, and it is typically performed as a day case procedure.
Medial branch blocks can provide effective relief from back pain, and they can also be used to diagnose the source of pain.

If the pain disappears after the injection, it is likely that the medial branch is the cause of the pain. Medial branch blocks are a safe and effective treatment for back pain, and they can provide long-lasting relief.