Relieving Pain. Restoring Hope.

Medial Branch Block

About the treatment

A medial branch block (MBB) is a minimally invasive injection used to treat arthritic pain within the spine which can be caused by conditions such as facet joint syndrome and osteoarthritis. Medial branch nerves exit out of the facet joints in the spine and send pain signals to the brain when conditions like arthritis are present. When these conditions are present severe pain, reduced range of motion and stiffness can be felt by patients. The medial branch block procedure can help effectively reduce a patient’s pain and inflammation.

Medial branch blocks are used primarily for diagnostic reasons however do have therapeutic indications as well. MBB’s are most commonly used to determine a patient’s candidacy for a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) providing long-term pain relief. A patient will be taken to our procedure suite where the skin is cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic to reduce discomfort. Live fluoroscopy (x-ray) is also used to ensure proper needle placement. A solution of sterile local anesthetic, and corticosteroid if therapeutic, will then be injected into the targeted facet joints. If a significant amount of pain relief is noted from the procedure, the injection is considered successful.

After the treatment

Patients are discharged home after a brief observation period in our recovery suite. If a steroid is used for therapeutic purposes, the steroid medication can take a few days up to two weeks to take effect. Once it does, patients should experience pain relief lasting between three to six months. Patients should contact their Desert Pain Specialists provider immediately if they develop a fever, rash, or signs of infection near the injection site.


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