Many pain reduction therapies are temporary, such as joint injections that last for about six months on average. However, why get a medial branch block if it just lasts a few hours? This spinal injection available at Integrated Pain Consultants works by temporarily blocking pain signals sent by the medial branch nerves. These are the nerves found in facet joints in the spine that let you move your back.
A medial branch block isn’t a treatment, but rather a diagnostic tool. Getting a correct diagnosis for the source of your pain is critical and should only be performed by a pain specialist. Don’t confuse a medial branch block with a facet joint block (which is also available at IPC), because they are very different. Medial branch blocks require the injection to be outside of the affected joint so that it impacts the medial nerve. Facet joint injections are, you guessed it, inside the facet joint.
A medial branch block helps your pain specialist determine the source of your pain. If you experience no relief with it, that means the pain isn’t caused by medial branch nerves issues. If the pain subsides for just a few hours, there’s a good chance your pain is caused by one or more of the nerves in the medial branch and your doctor can develop a treatment plan with this knowledge. Sciatica may also be a cause of your pain if you enjoy pain relief from a medial branch block since it’s caused by irritation of a medial nerve.
Medial branch blocks are minimally invasive, which means there are little to no risks of side effects. You might have some tenderness after the injection, just like with any other shot. The benefits of a medial branch block are many, even if you don’t have any pain relief. It can be a fast and helpful tool in determining what’s causing your pain so that a treatment plan can be devised.
A medial branch block requires no more than one hour and most of that is prep time. A numbing agent is used to minimize discomfort during the injection. Ready to find out if a medial branch block is a good diagnostic tool for you? Call Integrated Pain Consultants at (480) 626-2552 and schedule your detailed evaluation today.