The Vault

Medial Branch Block: Cervical, Thoracic, & Lumbar

Joints of the spine are called facet joints. The facets vary depending on the level in the spine. However, the medial branch innervates all facets.   Facets are one of the most common sources of pain. Placing local anesthetic on the medial branch allows us to diagnose that your pain is coming from these joints. Unfortunately, imaging alone cannot tell us if your pain is coming from these joints. That’s why these are called “diagnostic blocks”. They are used to diagnose where your pain is coming from.

Studies show that there can be a high rate of placebo with only one block; so performing an initial and confirmatory block is necessary. We will assess your pain before and after the procedure. A significant reduction in your pain, which matches the duration of the local anesthetic, confirms that this is the source of your pain. We can now proceed to the therapeutic modality for facet disease, a radiofrequency ablation.