Medial Branch Block (MBB)
This is a diagnostic (test only) procedure to see if the facet joints in question are really contributing to your pain. It is performed at an out-patient medical clinic using fluoroscopy (real time x-ray) to confirm needle placement. The needle tip is placed very close to the sensory nerve that goes to the joint and a small amount of an anesthetic (pain reliever) is injected near the nerve. If you have a significant reduction in your pain while the anesthetic is working, it is said to be a positive diagnostic response and confirms that the joint is, in fact, part of the pain generator. If you get no relief whatsoever, this is a negative response and the provider will then consider other sources of pain.