CERVICAL MEDIAL BRANCH BLOCKS
AND CERVICAL FACET
JOINT INJECTION

For Chronic Neck Pain and Headaches

CERVICAL MEDIAL BRANCH BLOCKS
AND CERVICAL FACET
JOINT INJECTION

For Chronic Neck Pain and Headaches

WHAT ARE CERVICAL FACET JOINTS?

The area of the spine in the neck is called the cervical region, which is composed of 7 bones, called vertebrae. When two bones meet one another, it is known as a joint. In the spine, these joints are called facet joints. The facet joints help to guide your spine when you move. Each joint is about the side of a thumbnail. These joints are named for the two bones they connect and the side of the spine where they are found. The right C3-4 facet joint, for example, joins the 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae on the right side. Medial branch nerves are found near the facet joints and they communicate pain from the joint. They tell the brain when the facet joints have been injured or are experiencing pain.
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HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE CERVICAL FACET JOINT PAIN?

If you have headaches, neck pain, upper back, or shoulder pain and it has lasted longer than two months, you may have cervical facet pain.

Common tests such as x-rays or MRls may not always show if a facet joint is causing pain. The best way to diagnose facet pain is to block the pain signal in a medial branch nerve with a local anesthetic (numbing medicine), this is called a medial branch block.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THIS PROCEDURE?

A local anesthetic will be used to numb your skin. The doctor will then insert a small needle near the facet joint. Fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray, must be used to position the needle. Once the needle is properly placed, either the nerve will be numbed or steroid will be administered into the joint. This is often repeated at more than one level of the spine. If you are undergoing medial branch blocks you will be receiving an injection of local anesthetic. The length of pain relief is anticipated to be 4-6 hours only. This procedure is not expected to result in long-term pain relief.

HOW DO I TREAT?
cervical facet joint pain?

Cervical facet joint pain can be treated in a variety of ways. One way is to block the nerves that signal pain in the joint (as mentioned above). Often, the relief from this procedure is short lived, therefore, it is typically used as a diagnostic tool. If you have meaningful relief that is temporary, we may discuss a radio frequency ablation with you. Another method to treat cervical facet joint pain is to inject a steroid, which is a potent anti-inflammatory, into the joints.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW PRIOR TO MY PROCEDURE?

If you are currently on antibiotics or being treated for an infection, please call the office prior to your injection appointment.

• You will not be given sedation for medial branch blocks, as you need to be awake and alert immediately following to complete a pain diary form accurately. This form will be given to you and explained on the day of your procedure.

• We do not anticipate that you will experience any weakness or numbness in the extremities. Nevertheless, it is suggested that you bring a driver to your appointment if possible.

• On the day of your appointment, please refrain from eating or drinking 4 hours before your appointment time. You may eat and drink immediately following your injection.

• If you take routine medications, you make take these on the day of your injection as scheduled with a small sip of water.

• If you are on any blood thinning medications please notify our office so that we may give you instructions.

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