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Cervical Medial Branch Block - Targeting Pain at the Source

Say goodbye to chronic neck pain and headaches with our cervical medial branch block procedure. Our team of experienced doctors use state-of-the-art diagnostics to accurately diagnose the root cause of your pain. Then, we target the affected area with heat to provide long lasting relief. Let us help you get back to your usual activities pain-free.

Cervical medial branch blocks

Cervical medial branch blocks are medical procedures used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes to address pain originating from the facet joints in the neck. The facet joints are small joints located between the vertebrae of the spine, and the medial branch nerves supply these joints. Cervical medial branch blocks involve the injection of local anesthetics and sometimes steroids near the medial branch nerves to assess and treat pain.

Here are key points for discussing cervical medial branch blocks:

  1. Indications:

    • Cervical medial branch blocks are primarily used for diagnosing and treating pain stemming from the facet joints in the cervical (neck) region of the spine.

    • Facet joint pain can result from conditions such as osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, or injury to the facet joints.

  2. Diagnostic Purpose:

    • One primary use of cervical medial branch blocks is to help identify whether the facet joints are the source of a patient's neck pain.

    • A diagnostic injection involves temporarily numbing the medial branch nerves. If the pain is significantly reduced after the injection, it suggests that the facet joints are the likely source of the pain.

  3. Therapeutic Purpose:

    • Cervical medial branch blocks can also serve a therapeutic role by providing pain relief for a more extended period.

    • In therapeutic injections, a combination of local anesthetics and steroids is often used. The local anesthetic provides immediate pain relief, while steroids help reduce inflammation and provide more sustained effects.

  4. Procedure:

    • The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis.

    • Using fluoroscopic guidance (real-time X-ray), a needle is guided to the targeted medial branch nerves near the facet joints.

    • A small amount of contrast dye may be injected to confirm the proper needle placement before the medication is administered.

  5. Patient Selection:

    • Cervical medial branch blocks are considered for patients with chronic neck pain that is suspected to originate from the facet joints.

    • Candidates for this procedure often undergo other conservative treatments without significant improvement.

  6. Effectiveness and Duration:

    • The effectiveness of cervical medial branch blocks can vary from person to person.

    • Diagnostic blocks are temporary and provide short-term relief, usually lasting a few hours to a day.

    • Therapeutic blocks, which include steroids, may offer longer-lasting relief that can extend for weeks or months.

  7. Risks and Side Effects:

    • While generally considered safe, cervical medial branch blocks carry some risks, including infection, bleeding, or allergic reactions to the medications.

    • Temporary soreness or numbness at the injection site is common.

  8. Follow-up and Monitoring:

    • Following the procedure, patients are often monitored to assess the effectiveness of pain relief.

    • If successful, further treatments or interventions may be considered to provide ongoing pain management.

Cervical medial branch blocks are one component of a comprehensive pain management strategy, and their success may guide further treatment decisions, including radiofrequency ablation or other interventional procedures. Patients considering these blocks should have a thorough discussion with their healthcare provider to understand the potential benefits and risks based on their specific medical conditions and needs.


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