Chronic Pain Diagnosis & Treatment: Medial Branch Blocks

February 15, 2023

Over 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain. Beyond the discomfort, it can be frustrating to go for days, months, or years without a diagnosis that provides answers for your unwanted pain. At Southside Pain, it’s our mission to help you to find answers, so you can live pain-free.

We’re experts in helping you identify, manage, and treat your chronic pain symptoms. In this blog, we take a deep dive into one of our popular chronic pain tests and treatments—medial branch blocks, chief among them. Learn everything you need to know about this procedure and if it’s right for you at Southside Pain Specialists.
What Are Medical Branch Blocks?

Medical branch blocks are, in essence, injections made to temporarily block pain signals in the spinal area from traveling to the brain. As both a diagnostic procedure and treatment for chronic pain, medial branch blocks are injected near the “medial nerves,” which run through the facet joints in your vertebrae.

Often, your doctor will suggest a medial branch block if you have chronic lower back pain that continues to your legs. A condition we see frequently at Southside Pain is called facet syndrome. This occurs when the cartilage inside the joint breaks down, causing pain, inflammation, and irritation.

How Can Medial Branch Blocks Help with Pain Relief?

Whether you’re diagnosed with facet syndrome or another condition, medial branch blocks can be useful in diagnosing your chronic pain. If you don’t find relief from the block, it’s a sign that your back pain doesn’t involve the facet joints.

On the other hand, if you notice instant relief after your medial branch block, you’ve found the source of your pesky pain. Whether the facet joints are responsible for your discomfort or not, medial branch blocks are a productive, effective way to uncover the likely source of your pain.

What Should I Expect During a Nerve Block Procedure?

Typically, medial branch blocks are a quick outpatient procedure. Doctors give patients a local anesthetic to numb the injection site. The injection lasts only a few seconds, and your provider may also give a steroid injection to help reduce inflammation. You’ll stick around for a few minutes to guard against side effects and then schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss further treatment.

Medical branch blocks aren’t always the best diagnostic tool for everyone. We recommend discussing your options with healthcare professionals at a pain clinic before the procedure to discuss the various benefits and other forms of treatment.

Treat Your Chronic Back Pain with Our Pain Specialists

At Southside Pain, we’re dedicated to helping you find relief from your pain. A medial branch block may be right for you if you’re suffering from chronic back pain. This procedure is safe and effective and can illuminate the cause of your discomfort. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our experienced team today!

Your Chronic Pain Experts: Southside Pain Specialists

At Southside Pain, we understand that chronic pain management isn’t one size fits all. Our team of experts can listen to your concerns and then diagnose and treat your pain. Call us today at 205-332-3155 or contact us online to schedule an appointment!