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Medial Branch Block
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Medial Branch Block

I have degenerative facet disease and facet arthritis in my spine. One of the pain management clinics in my area offers a procedure called a Medial Branch Block. I am becoming increasingly unhappy with the care I have been receiving from my Rheumatologist because I have many other issues beyond Fibromyalgia. I am thinking of leaving her for pain management and I am considering this as a possible option to include in my treatment.

I was wondering if any of you have undergone this procedure, and if so, was your experience negative or positive or neutral? Is it worth the money? Also, if you have underwent this procedure, which spinal region did you have it applied to (cervical, lumbar)?
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Hi Dusty,

I am sure that you know that a medial branch nerve block temporarily interrupts the pain signal being carried from a specific facet joint. Everyone may respond differently to even the same procedure.

I recall your displeasure with your Rheumatologist from previous posts. In my opinion the block may be worth a try as long as you understand that this is not a permanent solution and the results vary. If the practitioner is skilled the risks are minimal. You may benefit from finding another physician that will treat your chronic pain. I have not had this specific procedure but hopefully others have an will comment on your post.

Good luck to you in what ever way you chose to proceed. Please let us know how it goes and keep in touch.

Take Care,
Tuck  
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I am very curious about the procedure as I have been doing a lot of research. I see my Rheumatologist next month. I am not sure how to go about removing myself from her care and finding a new doctor. I am considering going back to the pain management clinic I went to before I came under her care about one year ago.

The PM clinic I am speaking of is a very large organization in my area. Unfortunately, at the time I was very suspicious of them and nervous about all of the drugs and procedures they were proposing since it was my first time in pain management, so I saw a couple of different doctors and PAs within their practice seeking "second opinions." This could be perceived as odd behavior. I never was seeking narcotic medications at the time (I was really new to meds), but I did kind of bounce around their practice a bit. I was very distrustful, especially since I had just gone through a surgery that had caused me more pain when I healed than I had before the surgery.

Anyhow, my husband was just diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis of the cervical spine. He needs surgery, but is very frightened because his aunt is paralyzed due to a spinal surgery. Her circumstances were a lot different, but he has decided to put off the surgery for as long as he can and has decided to treat with medications and procedures for as long as possible. He is now going to the PM clinic that I abandoned. He is having lots of luck and is really happy, and I am disappointing that I didn't stick it out with them.

Before I left the PM clinic they proposed that my shoulder pain might be coming from my neck and wanted to do injections. Now that I know about my facet arthritis in my lumbar spine, I am guessing there is a really good chance I may have some problems going on in my cervical spine because I know I have some disk bulges and lots of neck pain. My husband told my about the Medial Branch Block procedures and I think they would be so beneficial to me. I am actually really excited about the idea of them. I have been in sooooo much pain and agony these past months. I've even canceled my SI injection because I want to get a clear plan set into place going into the fall/winter. My neck/shoulder pain is worse right now than my lower back, so I think that is where I should be spending my money.

Below is a video I found on the procedure that I found very informative. I hope we are allowed to link videos on this website. Please let me know if this is against the rules. Thanks.


http://www.spine-health.com/video/medial-branch-block-video
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I went to a pm clinic 15 yrs ago for headaches and stiffness in neck.  At first they did an epidural and physical therapy. Then a couple yrs later I had the nerve block. It was amazing but then a year later I had to have another one cause the nerves fuse back together. I've been great since then. Until I started having shoulder pain and need a  full replacement. They say that the nerve block won't work on this condition...Now I'm hooked on pain meds . I really loved my pain clinic.
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I don't think your behavior of seeking more opinions should be viewed as "odd." We only have one body and we all want it to function as best it can.

If you want to return to the PM Clinic be upfront with your current specialist and tell her that you just want to seek additional opinions at this time. If you don't want to completely sever your relationship with her just yet than don't. Don't close a door that you may want to reenter.

I can't help but comment on your husband's condition. I understand his concern and fear but spinal stenosis left untreated can cause permanent nerve damage and lead him to the very thing he is fearful of, his aunt's condition. That's my unsolicited two cents worth!

But back to you. We all must do what we think is right for us. If that means returning to the PM Clinic than do so. Your physician should understand. If she doesn't than you really haven't lost a lot.

I'll look forward to your updates.
Tuck
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