What these blocks can do for low back pain and who is a good candidate.

The lumbar part of the spine is located on the lower part of the back and contains five vertebrae. Also in this area are medial branch nerves, which transmit pain signals from the lumbar area to the brain. What can cause this pain and are there ways to treat it?

There are several reasons the lower back may be experiencing pain. Most often it is due to joint dysfunction caused by an injury or irritation, and the pain can range from minor to severe. Some symptoms may include: difficulty moving, pain around the buttock or upper thigh area, muscle spasms, and local soreness. If joint dysfunction isn’t the issue, another common cause of lower back pain is a back muscle strain. This can result from lifting heavy objects or sudden, twisting, movement.

One of the most common procedures to explore and properly diagnose lower back pain is a lumber medial branch block. An anesthetic injection is made near a specific facet joint, near the medial branch nerves.  If the patient experiences substantial pain relief, physicians know that this particular facet joint, along with the nerves, is the cause of the pain. This procedure is an efficient way for doctors to diagnose exactly where the pain is coming from and proceed from there. Pain relief is expected to last a few hours and depending on the diagnoses, patients may qualify for a more permanent procedure.

Various procedures are used when there is a known problem in a specific facet joint. Some procedures are minimally invasive, such as radiofrequency treatment. Others are more invasive.

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain with or without pain/sensations that radiate into your leg or legs, you may be a candidate for a lumbar medial branch block.