Medial Branch Block (MBB) injections are a diagnostic tool used to help determine the best treatment for back pain. Unlike facet joint injections, MBBs are not intended to alleviate pain directly. Instead, they serve to help pinpoint whether the facet joints are indeed the source of discomfort.
These injections are administered using the same process as facet joint injections, using fluoroscopy and local anesthetic. However, MBBs are injected outside of the facet joint, close to the medial nerve. This injection temporarily blocks pain signals from the medial nerves to more accurately determine the source of pain. This streamlined approach, particularly used for patients aged 35 and older, enables a direct path to diagnosis, potentially bypassing the need for repeated facet joint injections.
If patients experience relief after an MBB, this indicates the facet joints or medial branch nerve is likely the source of pain and may require further treatment such as Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) for longer-lasting relief.