Chronic neck and back pain are debilitating conditions that affect millions of people every year. However, when a course of rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, and other lifestyle pain management treatments such as exercising, eating well, and getting the proper sleep doesn’t work, doctors and patients look to other therapies for help. Medial branch blocks are a safe way to not only manage chronic neck or back pain but to also accurately diagnose the cause of the pain for specific longer-term relief treatments.
medial branch block

What Are The Medial Branch Block Benefits?

Medial branch blocks can offer immediate pain relief allowing patients to begin physical therapy or exercise routines to strengthen supporting muscles in the back and abdomen. Patients suffering from lower back or neck pain can benefit simply by having those precise targets directly injected.

Medial branch blocks resulted in significant pain relief according a study (Nat’l Library of Med: 2006 Apr;9(2):97-105) published in 2006. This study found that 71% of patients reported a decrease in pain and increased functionality that remained stable over three years. Another study in 2012 (Hindawi Volume 2012 |Article ID 585806) found similarly positive results with or without steroids. As steroid injections may lead to bone loss and weakened connective tissue over time, steroid-free medial branch blocks may be an excellent treatment option for patients with osteoporosis.

How Is It Performed?

Your physician may offer you an intravenous medication to relax you. The doctor will numb an area of skin on your back or neck with local anesthetic. While using x-ray guidance, the doctor will Insert a small needle over the medial branch nerves. A contrast dye is then injected to confirm needle placement. Once needles are positioned, a small amount of anesthetic (numbing medication) will then be slowly injected onto each targeted nerve. Occasionally, an anti-inflammatory steroid is injected.

Any complications from the procedure are extremely rare. Your doctor will then assess if the pain has been reduced. Maintaining a pain diary over the next several hours will help you and your doctor determine what further treatment option needs to be taken. After discharge, applying ice and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful to reduce any post procedural discomfort. You can return to your normal activities the next day.

Contact Michigan Pain Consultants Today

Talk with the professionals at Michigan Pain Consultants today about Medical Branch Blocks – a safe, effective way to not only treat many different types of back pain but to also diagnose the cause of the pain.

Make an appointment for a new patient consultation with one of our board-certified pain physicians. All of Michigan Pain Consultant’s physicians are Board Certified in Anesthesiology or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and have advanced training and experience in Pain Medicine. You can begin first by visiting online at,, or by calling them at (800) 281-3237.

Michigan Pain Consultants – Better Treatments. Better Life.

With six locations throughout West Michigan, Michigan Pain Consultants comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain care offers patients and providers renewed hope for relief from chronic pain. Chronic pain should be treated like other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or congestive heart failure. Chronic pain requires chronic treatment. The goal of the treatment is to optimize the management of the pain, as opposed to curing the pain.