Facet medial branch block is a procedure to reduce pain from inflamed nerves where two vertebrae join. Facet joints are the joints that join two vertebrae, and the nerves that supply these joints are the medial branches. Pain from these joints and nerves are experienced as back pain, hip pain, and pain going down the leg to just above the knee. The pain is treated by injecting numbing medicine in the form of local anesthetics, and steroids directly around the medial branch nerves or into the facet joints. Pain relief can last weeks to months. If the blocks are effective, the nerves can be destroyed to provide longer-lasting pain reduction. With the patient placed face down on the procedure table, an IV is started and sedation is given. The site is cleaned then injected with a local anesthetic and the steroid medication. The procedure lasts only a few minutes plus a short recovery period. Patients should be accompanied by a driver.
Treating pain effectively requires comprehensive and specialized care. The physicians and staff of the UAB Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine offer the latest in pain management techniques, backed by the expertise, knowledge, and research of one of the country’s largest academic medical centers. In both the hospital and the clinic, the needs of each patient are carefully considered, and we design each treatment plan to provide the best possible results.
We understand that relief from pain is critical to recovery. Our approach combines compassionate care with image-guided procedures, physical therapy, psychological assistance, medication, and ongoing consults with your primary care physicians. Our program puts less emphasis on opioid medications and tries to help patients improve their enjoyment of life by focusing on daily exercise, better nutrition, and stress reduction through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques.
Our innovative physicians and researchers continue to advance the field of pain management with studies that explore new therapies and treatment approaches, which may give patients access to treatments not yet available at most medical centers. We work closely with the departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Palliative Care to provide complete care for our patients.
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