What are medial branch nerves? The facet joints are embedded with tiny nerves, known as medial branch nerves, that are responsible for transmitting pain impulses from the facet joints to the brain.
So, what are facet joints? The vertebrae in the spine contain tiny pairs of facet joints between each segment. These facet joints give the spine stability and allow it to bend and twist.
A medial branch block is an injection used to block pain signals sent from the medial branch nerves that nourish the facet joints of the spine. It’s also used to determine if the facet joint is the cause of back pain.
In some cases, a facet block may be used in place or in addition to a medial branch block. A facet block is when local anesthetic and steroid are injected into a spinal joint. This is similar to a medial branch block, however the anesthetic is planted on the outer facet joint space, close to the medial nerve feeding it the pain signal.