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Lumbar Medial Branch Blocks

Lumbar 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.

Lumbar facet joint pain originates from the medial branch nerves, which are located near these joints. Medial branch nerves then transmit pain signals to your brain. Typically described as aching or throbbing, it may be felt on one or both sides of the lumbar spine, and can spread throughout the entire bottom half of your body. This pain is intensified by standing or walking, therefore preventing you from completing basic daily tasks.

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.

After a full assessment, your doctor will determine if pain is caused by one more lumbar facet joints. The severity of your condition will determine if you need one, or multiple sets of lumbar medial branch blocks.

Lumbar Medial Branch Blocks

This is a diagnostic procedure to determine if your back pain originates in the lumbar 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 back pain.

We perform lumbar medial blocks by injecting a small amount of local anaesthetic to block the medial branch nerves of one or more lumbar 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 lumbar facet 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 any responses to your treatments.


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.