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Lumbar Medial Branch Blocks Injections

Diseases For Which Injection May Help:

  • Lumbar spondylosis
  • Lumbar facet arthopathy
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Post laminectomy syndrome
  • Lumbar degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar discogenic pain

Reasons For Injection:

  • To diagnosis pain from the lumbar facet joint - formed in the back of the spine where the bones in the spine contact each other
  • Pain mostly in the back but can travel down your legs
  • Conservative measures such as ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, neuropathic medication, and physical therapy are tried first
  • Goal of injection is to see if a small amount of local anesthetic placed placed on the nerves that transmit the pain from this joint decreases or eliminated your pain
  • If your pain is reduced by 50 percent or more, it is likely that you will benefit from a radiofrequency procedure
  • Local anesthetic will wear off in a few hours and your pain will likely return
  • Radiofrequency procedures have been shown to work for periods of six months to a one year

Description of Procedure:

  • Performed in a surgery center as an outpatient procedure at Moores Cancer Center
  • Check in 30 minutes before procedure; staff will answer any questions before procedure
  • Your back will be cleaned with antiseptic solution and an x-ray will identify spot for injection
  • Local anesthetic numbs the skin and a needle will be used to enter the epidural space
  • Small amount of x-ray contrast will be injected into the needle to confirm needle is in right place
  • Some patients feel pressure in the back or down their legs when medication is injection
  • A small Band-Aid will be applied to your back and you will be taken back to recovery
  • Discharge instructions will be reviewed and you will be able to go home as soon as you are ready
  • If your pain relief is greater than 50 percent in the recovery area, you will be given the option of scheduling a radiofrequency procedure or return visit to the clinic

Medications Used For the Injection:

  • Corticosteroids are injected, which decrease inflammation
  • Most often Dexamethasone or Betamethosone are the steroids used

Pre-op Instructions:

  • Suggested you have a driver
  • Review all your medication with us before the procedure
  • If you take medication that affect your ability to form a blood clot (anticoagulants, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox) a specific plan should be in place - consult with physician
  • All other medications should be taken as normal unless your physician tells you otherwise
  • If you have any questions about your medications, please call the pain clinic 858-657-6035

Post-op Instructions:

  • Take it easy day of injection and return back to normal activity the following day
  • You may return to physical therapy after the injection, but let your therapist know you have undergone procedure

Potential Side Effects and Risks:

  • Site of injection can be sore after
  • Because the local anesthetic used to numb the nerves only four to six hours, the pain will return after the medication wears off
  • Other risks include headache, nerve damage, infection, bleeding, nerve damage, bowel/bladder problems, and sexual dysfunctions
  • If you have any specific questions about these risks, please speak with your doctor before the

Follow-up and Further Care:

  • After the procedure you will be given instructions on how and when to follow up
  • Either you will be scheduled for a radiofrequency procedure or you will be scheduled for a follow up at the pain clinic

Contact Us

New Patients: 800-926-8273

Existing Patients: 858-657-6035


La Jolla
Perlman Medical Offices (Suite 2C)