A Medial Branch Block is a procedure that delivers temporary pain relief for back and spine, usually lasting from a couple of hours to a couple of days. The procedure targets a specific nerve in your back that innervates (leads to) a facet or a spine joint. During the procedure, we inject a numbing agent into a very focused area to stop the nerve from processing the pain at that joint. When this results in pain relief, we know that we have identified the right nerve.
We never want to do procedures that are not necessary. Doing an MBB allows us to identify exactly what procedures need to be done. That’s because a Medial Branch Block can correctly identify the area (and the cause of) your pain. This is a critical step before committing to any further procedures to eliminate the pain entirely. The temporary pain relief is an added benefit while we identify what other procedures are needed to eliminate the cause of the pain.
Typically, the next step after identifying the correct area of treatment with an MBB is to do a Radiofrequency Facet Ablation (RFA), which is commonly called “burning the nerve” or simply “nerve ablation.” RFA will give you longer-lasting relief while giving us more time in the “rehab window” to get that area as strong and as healthy as possible.