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Cervical Medial Branch Blocks

Cervical Facet Joint Pain

Connecting the bones of the spine, facet joints are located at the back of your spine to provide flexibility and stability. They often become inflamed and cause pain due to age or injury.

Cervical facet joints often face damage following vehicle accidents, as they cause whiplash injuries to the neck. This causes the medial branch nerves (located near the facet joints) to transmit pain signals to the brain.

This condition is challenging to diagnose. The only proven way to confirm that pain originates from the lumbar facet joints, is to block off the medial branch nerves with localized anaesthetics. This is because the pain cannot be visually determined–therefore making x-rays, CT and MRI scans ineffective.

Following assessment, your doctor will determine if your pain is rooted in one or more of your cervical facet joints. You will usually require at least two sets of cervical medial branch blocks to confirm if this is correct.

Cervical Medical Branch Block

This is a diagnostic procedure to determine if your neck pain originates in the cervical facet joints. If this procedure confirms that your pain is caused by these joints, then we recommend radio frequency facet joint denervation as an effective treatment for your neck pain.

We perform cervical medial branch blocks by injecting a small amount of local anaesthetic to block the medial branch nerves of one or more cervical facet joints. This procedure is monitored through x-ray. Your PCC doctor will assess your pain before and after the procedure. Overall, side effects are rare as this procedure is minimally invasive–although a small percentage of patients may experience minor bruising and discomfort.

If pain is confirmed to originate from the cervical medial joints, our doctors will discuss radio frequency joint denervation as further treatment for your back pain. We may ask that you keep a pain diary of your response to your treatments.

Disclaimer

The contents contained within this page are not a substitute for health professionals' advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We advise that you seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner. We fully disclose that any surgical or invasive procedures come with risks.

For more details on how to relieve or treat chronic pain, you can reach out to one of our pain specialists at any of our pain care clinic locations. We establish a caring relationship and provide patients with pain relief when needed the most.

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