Re: Medial Branch Block - Info
Welcome to the board.
Have you had any epidural steroid injections? If so, this is not all that different.
The medial branch block is a temporary and diagnostic procedure, usually done to determine whether the facet joint is the cause of the patient's pain. It is often done prior to a procedure called a Radio-Frequency Lesioning or ablation.
Is your pain in the lumbar area? The procedure is pretty much the same for cervical areas too, but I'll describe what I am familiar with, which is lumbar.
The medial nerves are little nerves that come off each facet joint in the spine and carry signals out to the body. The nerve block is designed to temporarily interrupt the pain signals that are being carried out from a particular facet joint.
Do you know if you are having conscious sedation for the procedure?
The skin and deeper tissue will first be numbed. Then the joint will be injected with some medication that will cause the joint to become numb. You will be asked to keep a record of your pain and the times when you notice the numbness wearing off, if you have had relief from pain, when it returns, etc. But I am getting ahead of myself. You will be injected and that will be the end of the procedure. You will be asked to stay on the table for about 20 minutes, and then you will be asked to walk or do the usual movements that normally provoke your pain. You will be asked questions about your pain. If you have had conscious sedation, you will have to remain for a period of time until it is determined you are stable, and then you will be released.
You should have a driver with you to take you home.
You should continue to rest for the remainder of the day and should use ice if you are sore from the injection.
The doctor will give you directions pertaining to the notes you should make in your "pain journal," and how long he wants you to keep it.
Just remember, the test is diagnostic in nature and is not meant to cause any sort of permanent pain relief.
Feel free to ask questions....I'm sure I skipped some details!