Applies to: Neck, Back
A facet block is when local anesthetic and a steroid are injected into a joint in the spine. A medial branch block is a similar procedure with one notable difference, namely that the injection is placed outside the joint space near the nerve that supplies the joint. These nerves are called the medial branch nerves. A medial branch block is primarily indicated for patients who have pain in their back due to arthritic changes in the facet joints or due to mechanical lower back pain.
Like a facet block, a medial branch block can be both therapeutic and diagnostic. Seeing whether or not the injection is successful in eliminating pain gives your physician important information as to the source of the pain. If you get good lasting benefits from a medial branch block the procedure may be repeated. If you get good shorter term benefits, radiofrequency neurotomy may be indicated.