The Medial Branch Block is a diagnostic procedure. It is used to evaluate whether you would benefit from a Radio Frequency Ablation, or a “burning of the nerves”, which may be the cause of your pain.
The doctor will apply betadine to your back, and inject a numbing agent into each of the sites. Next, he will insert needles to inject a numbing agent around the nerves to see if this helps or takes your pain away. The series of test injections are done with a numbing agent called Lidocaine or Bupivacaine. These injections may take 20-30 minutes to perform. This procedure is best performed without any sedation so that you are able to be aware of how much pain relief you have and how long it lasts. It is also helpful if you are able to hold your pain medication the day of the procedure so that you know exactly how effective the injections are.
It is very important that you are as active as you can be so that you can determine how much pain relief you get and how long it lasts. The injections may last only a few hours so it is important to keep track of time on the paper given to you at discharge. You need to bring this paper back with you to your next appointment. It you have no relief at all then there is no need to proceed with the second series, so please call pain management office and inform them so they can cancel your next appointments.
Care of the injection sites are the same as all other back injections. You may shower, but do not soak in hot water. Keep the sites clean and dry. Do not apply heat to them. Use ice packs as needed for pain, or swelling.
You may be sore after the pain returns, this is normal. Take your pain medication as prescribed.