Pain can be complicated, especially when it involves the spine. Many conditions cause back pain but are rooted in other parts of the body. But when your discomfort comes from your spine, medial branch blocks may enhance your overall pain management strategy.

What Are Medial Branch Blocks?

Vertebrae are the 33 bones that make up the spine. In addition to supporting you as you flex and bend, these bones are home to numerous nerves. One set of nerves, the medial branch nerves, run around joints known as the spinal facets — areas where the vertebrae fit together.

There are two medial branch nerves for each facet joint. A medial branch block involves injecting a local anesthetic into these nerves, preventing them from sending pain signals to the brain.

Why Might You Need a Medial Branch Block?

Unlike many other uses of local anesthesia, medial branch blocks aren’t meant to be permanent treatments, even though many patients experience short-term relief. Instead, they help doctors locate precisely where your pain is coming from.

By numbing specific nerves, your doctor can narrow down which ones may be causing you discomfort. This improves your odds of successful pain management by ensuring your care plan targets the correct area of the spine.

What Should You Expect From a Medial Branch Block?

Most procedures require a clinic visit lasting about two hours. With that said, the injection usually takes less than half an hour.

You may also undergo X-rays or other imaging depending on your health condition. Before the procedure, your specialist will likely advise you to quit taking anticoagulant, or blood-thinning, medications and anti-inflammatory medicines.

After your injection, you should take a break from driving or operating machinery for at least 24 hours. Many physicians also give their patients pain diaries that include specific instructions on how to record their sensations. Your doctor will be able to recommend a longer-lasting pain management option using this information and the data collected during your follow-up,

Start Your Pain Management Journey at Freedom Spine & Pain Center

A medial branch block can be a crucial diagnostic step in ensuring you receive appropriate care. Learn more about your pain management options by scheduling a consultation at Freedom Spine & Pain Center.

Contact us today at 210-920-8945; we proudly serve Boerne, San Antonio, and Kerrville, TX.