If you have back or neck pain or irritated joints, your doctor may recommend several tests to find the source of the problem. These tests may include a diagnostic medial branch block. To make the most informed decisions for your health, it’s important to understand how this test is performed and what it will tell you.

What Is A Diagnostic Medial Branch Block?

A diagnostic medial branch block sometimes called a medial branch nerve block, involves injecting anesthetic into the area near the medial nerves in a facet joint. During the procedure, several areas of the spine may be injected, one at a time, with pauses to determine whether each injection has any effect.

Symptoms Of Irritated Facet Joints

Irritated facet joints typically cause neck pain and back pain. The seriousness and the exact location depend on which irritated joints are affected. The level of pressure a misalignment puts on these joints can also matter. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Aches
  • Burning Nerves
  • Loss Of Mobility
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Stiffness

What Conditions Can Cause These Symptoms?

Misaligned spinal vertebrae can easily pressure the medial nerves around them, causing discomfort and referring pain to other areas. Several other conditions may also cause pain in a facet joint.

  • An Accident Or Injury
  • Scoliosis
  • Arthritis
  • Congenital Conditions
  • Degenerative Disc Issues

If there is immediate relief from the pain after a particular injection, that facet joint is determined to be the source of the pain.

Does A Diagnostic Medial Branch Block Hurt?

A diagnostic medial nerve block generally isn’t painful. There may be a little bit of discomfort from the needle itself, but injecting the anesthetic will either do nothing or bring relief, depending on whether the right irritated facet joints are chosen for the procedure. Most people who have this diagnostic procedure don’t experience pain from it.

Can This Block Stop My Pain?

If the right irritated joints are chosen for the anesthetic injections, this diagnostic test can temporarily stop back or neck pain. However, it’s meant to test the theory of where the problem lies, which means it needs to be correcting the problem. When the anesthetic wears off, the discomfort will come back, but you’ll also know what area should be treated to stop the pain.

Get Help With Pain Relief Today

If you’re dealing with back or neck pain and need help to feel comfortable and move more freely again, contact us today at Advanced Pain Medical Group. We have eight locations to serve you throughout Los Angeles, Kern, and Ventura Counties so you can get the testing, treatment, and support you need to reduce your pain and increase your range of motion for the future.