Are you the one suffering from back or neck pain? For those who suffer from back or neck pain, finding the right treatment that alleviates pain can be quite challenging. One treatment option that doctors often suggest is a medial branch nerve block procedure. This procedure aims to provide relief by targeting the nerves for transmitting pain signals from the facet joints in the spine.
If you are considering undergoing a medial branch nerve block, it’s essential to have an understanding of what to anticipate during the procedure. In this blog, we will discuss intricately on the medial branch nerve block procedure. A complete reading of the blog will help you to understand whether you need this treatment or not.
Preparation and Assessment
Before undergoing the medial branch nerve block procedure, you will have a consultation with your physician. This consultation is crucial as it helps evaluate your condition and determine if a nerve block is suitable for you. During this assessment, your doctor will carefully review your history, perform an examination, and even request additional tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to identify the root cause of your pain.
Once it has been decided that a medial branch nerve block is indeed the course of action, you may be advised by your doctor to cease using specific medications like blood thinners in the days leading up to the procedure. This precautionary measure aims to minimize any risks of bleeding or other complications during and after the administration of the nerve block.
On the day of the procedure, you’ll need to arrive at the clinic or hospital an hour before the scheduled time. This will allow time for preparations and completing any required paperwork. Also, you’ll be advised to avoid eating or drinking anything for a few hours prior to the procedure.
Before actually performing the medial branch nerve block, you’ll be taken to a procedure area where a nurse or technician will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm. This IV line is used to administer any needed medications or fluids during the procedure.
Once everything is set up, you’ll be taken to the procedure room. The staff will make sure that you’re comfortable on the table and might attach monitors to keep track of your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels throughout.
Next, the doctor will cleanse the area where they’ll perform the nerve block and inject an anesthetic to numb both your skin and deeper tissues. This numbing process helps reduce any discomfort during the procedure.
Using guidance (a real-time X-ray) then comes inserting a needle into the specific targeted area.
The needle is gently guided towards the branch nerves, which are small nerve branches responsible for transmitting pain signals from the facet joints. Once the needle is properly positioned, a combination of corticosteroid medication is injected around the nerves to relieve pain.
Recovery and Follow-up
Following the medial branch nerve block procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will receive monitoring for a period. The duration of the recovery phase may usually last around 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, the nursing staff will carefully observe the patient’s signs and assess the comfort level. In case of any major discomfort, medications are provided.
It’s important to note that although the local anesthetic used during the procedure can provide pain relief, it typically takes a day for the corticosteroid medication to take full effect. During this period, you might experience soreness at the site of injection. Applying ice packs or taking over-the-counter pain relievers as recommended by your physician can help alleviate any discomfort. However, please note not to take painkillers beyond the recommended limit. Painkillers have massive side effects when not taken in the right dosage.
Your doctor will provide procedure instructions that may include certain activity restrictions for a short period. It’s crucial to follow these instructions in order to ensure a recovery.
Moreover, it’s possible that you might need to come in for another appointment to evaluate how you’re doing and decide if additional treatments are needed. However, in case your back pain is not too serious, go for joint injections for lower back pain.
Using a medial branch nerve block is a method for managing back or neck pain by targeting the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals from the facet joints. By having an understanding of what to anticipate during the procedure, you can be better prepared. Have realistic expectations. Remember to address any concerns or questions with your doctor about the procedure to ensure results.