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Medial Branch Block

The spine is lined with small joints, which are called facet joints. In these joints are medial nerves that transfer pain signals to the brain when the joint is inflamed.  A medial branch block involves installation of an anesthetic agent onto the nerves of the facet joints.

How common is back pain?

Approximately 80% of U.S. adults experience back pain at some point during life. In addition, back pain is the second most common reason to visit the doctor. Medial branch blocks make it easier for the Los Angeles pain doctor to diagnose your source of chronic back pain.

 

When an anesthetic agent is injected onto the nerves of an inflamed facet joint, the medication blocks pain signals and relieves the pain. The medial branch block also allows the pain management specialist to determine the exact location of the pain and create a plan to block it. While the block only provides temporary pain relief, it allows the doctor to determine the effectiveness of a radiofrequency ablation to destroy a portion of the nerves.
You may be a candidate for a medial branch block if you suffer from some form of back pain that is accompanied by pain that radiates down your legs. The doctor may suggest this block if other therapies and treatments have not worked for relieving your pain.
The numbing anesthetic agent injected onto the nerves will only last a few hours. During this time, the doctor will have you walk around to induce pain that you usually feel. If the pain is not present or is greatly reduced, the pain management doctor in Los Angeles may recommend a radiofrequency ablation procedure. Once the numbness wears off, the anti-inflammatory steroid begins to work, alleviating joint inflammation. You will be discharged home after around 40 minutes of observation.
After the medial branch block, you can return to normal activity the next day. In addition, you may resume a normal diet immediately after the procedure. Unless otherwise instructed, you should take your normal medications before and after the procedure.
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