- Medial Branch Block Vs. Facet Joint Injection
- An Overview of Pain Management
- Goals of Pain Management
- Back And Neck Pain Procedures
- Facet Joint Injection Procedure
- The Goal Of A Medial Branch Block
- A Brief Description Of The Lumbar Medial Branch Block And Facet Injection Procedure
- Immediately Following the Injection
- The Week after the Facet Injection
- The Day of the Injection
Medial Branch Block Vs Facet Joint Injection
Several different types of pain blocks are available at our Phoenix pain management clinic; how can you tell them apart? Facet pain blocks and medial branch pain blocks are two of the most common. A facet pain block is a spinal joint injection of anesthetic and steroids. A medial branch pain block is similar to a lateral branch pain block, except that the medication is injected outside the joint and closer to the nerves (the medial branch nerves). A steroid may or may not be used in medial branch pain blocks.
These pain blocks are frequently used in patients who suffer from back pain, which is frequently caused by arthritis and/or mechanical lower back pain. Multiple injections may be necessary depending on the number of affected joints. Additionally, pain blocks can be diagnostic, therapeutic, or a combination of the two. These techniques can be used as diagnostic tools, as a pain block can indicate to a pain specialist whether the pain is coming from a pain-blocked facet joint. In other words, if the pain persists after the pain block is placed, the facet joint is ruled out as a possible source.
An Overview of Pain Management
Pain management is a branch of medical practice that touts the reduction of pain. Pain management covers a wide range of conditions, including neuropathic pain, sciatica, postoperative pain, and more. Pain management is a burgeoning medical specialty that utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating all kinds of pain. Pain management doctors treat people in pain by evaluating a patient to determine which pain treatment protocol would be best before prescribing rehabilitation protocols. Since pain management doctors utilize a multi-disciplinary model, they typically refer to Doctors of Chiropractic for spinal and manual adjustments or to a Physical therapist for rehabilitative exercises. Your general medical doctor may refer you to pain management when your pain is significant and ongoing.
Medical physicians who specialize in pain management understand the complexities of pain, and a pain physician approaches the problem holistically. While treatment at a pain clinic should ideally be patient-centered, this may not always be the case due to the clinics’ limited resources. There are currently no established standards for the types of disciplines that must be included, which is another reason why treatment options vary between clinics. This article hopes to explain the difference between the Medial Branch Block Vs Facet Joint Injection.
Goals of Pain Management
While some types of pain can be chronic, such as headaches and others acute, we focus on auto accident injuries. Our pain management protocols specifically address the root underlying cause of your pain. This allows for the application of science and the latest advances in medicine to relieve your pain. “we now have many modalities, including medication, interventional pain management techniques, nerve blocks, Facet blocks, Trigger point injections, along with Chiropractic Care and management to help reduce your pain. The goal of pain management is to minimize pain rather than eliminate it. Integrating pain management with chiropractic adjustments provides a potent one-two punch at correcting your pain’s underlying root cause of your pain. This is because quite often, it is not possible to do away with it completely. Two other goals are to improve function and increase the quality of life. These three goals go hand-in-hand.
Look for a clinic with a specialist who knows about your kind of pain. Ask if the doctor has had special training and is board certified in pain management. As with other doctors, you should also try to find someone you feel comfortable with. Your pain management specialist will treat your pain and coordinate other care, including physical therapy, rehabilitation, and counseling. A good pain program will work with you and your family to create a plan based on your goals. It will monitor your progress and tell you how you’re doing.
Back And Neck Pain Procedures
Auto accidents can result in various symptoms throughout the body, depending on the mechanism of injury. Neck, mid-back and lower back pain are all common symptoms, with or without radiating symptoms down the arms and legs. After an auto accident, an initial exam is highly recommended to assess each part of the body and prevent permanent damage to the spine and nerves. Early intervention, such as epidural steroid injections or medial branch blocks, can help prevent pain from becoming chronic, thereby avoiding the need for future invasive surgeries and procedures. At Phoenix Pain Treatment Clinic in West Phoenix, Arizona, our pain specialists conduct thorough examinations and utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic testing to gain a clear picture of a patient’s injuries and how they can help reduce their symptoms with the least amount of invasive treatment possible. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car collision, you must ask your medical doctor and chiropractor the difference between a Medial branch Block Vs. and Facet Joint Injection.
Facet Joint Injection Procedure
As is the case with many spinal injections, facet joint injections are best performed with the assistance of fluoroscopy (live x-ray) to ensure proper needle targeting and placement (and to help avoid nerve injury or another injury).
Facet joint injections and medial branch blocks typically contain two types of medication: a local anesthetic (which relieves pain) and a steroid (which helps to reduce swelling and inflammation). Facet joint injections and medial branch blocks both work similarly but are administered in different locations within the joint. Your doctor will inject a local anesthetic and steroid directly into your facet joint during a facet joint injection. This is done to help alleviate inflammation in the joint space. A medial branch block involves injecting a local anesthetic and steroid directly into the nerves in your facet joint that transmit pain signals to your brain. This will temporarily halt the nerve’s transmission of pain signals.
The Goal Of A Medial Branch Block
By numbing the medial branch nerves, a medial branch block can aid in diagnosing whether or not the source of your pain is the facet joints. If the medial branch block alleviates your pain, the source of your pain is more than likely a facet joint.
Medial branch blocks are used to determine whether your pain originates in the facet joints and whether radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may help alleviate your pain. A medial branch block is a procedure in which your pain management specialist uses an anesthetizing drug to briefly stop the medial branch nerves from transmitting pain signals to your brain. If a facet joint problem causes your pain, a medial branch block may provide temporary relief.
If you get significant pain relief through this temporary medial branch block, then you may be a candidate for RFA, which is a longer-lasting interruption of nerve impulses from the medial branch nerves.
A Brief Description Of The Lumbar Medial Branch Block And Facet Injection Procedure
What to expect during a lumbar medial branch or Facet Injection block procedure is as follows:
- You will be situated face down on a table with a pillow beneath your abdomen.
- Prior to the injection, the injection site is cleaned and numbed.
- Your physician will determine the needle’s path using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance.
- Your doctor will insert a thin needle into the area(s) where the block will be placed.
- Following that, your doctor will inject a trace of contrast dye to ensure that the medication flows precisely where it is supposed to.
- Next, your physician will administer a small dose of a long-acting anesthetic.
- Expect to wait approximately 20 minutes in the recovery area following the procedure.
- Note: The primary distinction between Medial Branch Block and Facet Joint Injection is that the medial Branch Block anesthetic is injected into a general area of your spinal nerve’s medial branch. In a Facet Injection, the anesthetic is injected directly into the joint.
Immediately Following the Injection
Facet joint injections can be life-changing for millions of people who suffer from lower back pain. Back pain sufferers can experience months of relief with this minimally invasive procedure. The injection may be beneficial if the problem is specific to the facet joints. Otherwise, alternative therapies may be necessary. Consult a physician immediately for an evaluation and treatment of lower back pain. However, as explained throughout this explanation of Medial branch Block Vs Facet Joint Injection, you may have to endure both procedures.
Although most side effects of a medial branch block are uncommon, they do occur. It is common to experience temporary discomfort at the injection site. Certain patients report feelings of weakness or numbness. Occasionally, a minor infection at the injection site develops in a small number of patients. In a much smaller proportion of patients, medial branch block exacerbates pain. If you experience any unusual side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
You may experience decreased pain immediately following the injection. However, this is only a temporary fix until the medication takes effect. This can take between two and seven days following the injection. If the initial injection is effective at controlling your pain, your doctor may perform additional injections. Remember that comparing the results of your Medial branch Block Vs Facet Joint Injection can make all the difference in the world for true, long-lasting pain relief. The amount of relief depends on the nature of your pain, and because the spine contains a variety of pain receptors, the injections’ long-term effects cannot be predicted. Because everyone’s pain is unique, the effectiveness of treatment will vary. The effectiveness of Medial branch Block Vs Facet Joint Injection can also vary, but that is the best way to determine your pain management journey.
The Week after the Facet Injection
Facet joint injections and medial branch blocks have varying success rates. According to studies, up to 92 percent of patients experience pain relief for a brief period of time, typically 1 to 4 weeks after the injection. However, symptoms may or may not recur over time. Certain patients may require additional injections to maintain relief, while others may experience complete resolution or long-term pain relief. In individuals who experience temporary pain relief from facet joint injections, these injections can provide a window of opportunity to progress with physical therapy and other therapies. Strengthening and rehabilitating the neck or back may result in improved function and long-term pain relief. Typically, within a one to four-week period, our pain management specialists must determine which procedure or protocol is the superior choice by comparing Medial Branch Block Vs. Facet Joint Injection.
You can usually resume your normal activities the next day following a facet joint injection. Indeed, some people return to work the following day. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind in the days and weeks following your injection. You should avoid strenuous activity for a few days following the procedure. Instead, gradually increase. It’s prudent to avoid driving for the first 24-48 hours. After the numbing anesthetic wears off, you may experience an increase in pain.