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Office Based Procedures

Medial Branch Blocks

What is a Medial Branch Block?

A Medial Branch Block is an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medicine) around the small nerve that supplies the spinal facet joint. This nerve is called the medial branch to the facet joint. Patients will often have more than one joint injected at a time. Medial branch blocks are used to determine if pain is from arthritic changes in the facet joints.

What are the pre-requisites in order to perform this procedure?

Patients will be asked to fast for 6 hrs for food and 2 hrs for clear liquids.

How long does the Medial Branch Block procedure take?

The procedure takes about 10 minutes.

Will the procedure hurt?

Mild sedation may be administered to ease any anxiety; however, general anesthesia is not an option or necessary.  The physician will inject local anesthetic to numb the area prior to placing the needle through the skin.

What should I expect after the procedure and what are the side effects?

Patients back or neck pain may be improved immediately after the injection from the local anesthetic medication. It is very important to keep track of how patients feel for the rest of the day, because this helps us determine the cause and location of patients’ pain.

What should I do after the procedure?

Be active for the day of the procedure. Do not rest or relax. We need patients to be active so we can tell if the injection is helpful.  After the numbing agent wears off, some localized tenderness may be experienced for a couple of days after the injection. Using an ice pack with a barrier such as a towel between the skin and ice, for 20-30 minutes three or four times a day will help this. It is important that patients keep track of the amount of pain relief in the area being targeted, as well as how long the pain relief lasted.

A separate sheet below will be provided. Please fill out this sheet the day after the procedure and bring it to the next visit.


Our goal is to improve your ability to return to the activities you have been missing as well as provide a meaningful reduction in pain.

North Shore Pain Management
Our team is dedicated to the care and treatment of patients in pain. New patients are seen on physician referral only. To help us diagnose and treat, we must have relevant medical records, x-rays, and test reports. We accept most major health insurance plans.
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