If you’ve suffered from chronic pain for months or years, you’ve likely tried many therapies and treatments to restore your quality of life. For persistent pain that affects the range of motion and function in your joints, spine, back, and neck, our team at Vulcan Pain Management in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama offers a range of nonsurgical solutions such as Erchonia laser treatments, facet joint injections, intradiscal electrothermal therapy, and cervical medial-branch blocks.
In this blog, our highly skilled dual board-certified pain management physician Dr. Victor Mendoza, shares more about cervical medial-branch blocks and how it can help you get back to work or to the hobbies you love. Let’s take a closer look.
Understanding medial branch nerves
At each of your vertebrae, you have a nickel-sized facet joint that connects to two spinal nerves, called medial branch nerves, that transmit pain to your brain. The facet joints are the ones you hear when you “crack” your back, twist, and bend. Research indicates that an estimated 30% of chronic low back pain is due to the facet joints and medial nerves.
Causes of cervical facet joint pain
In most cases, facet joint pain is due to wear and tear and degenerative changes. Other causes include poor posture, or an accident, injury, or trauma, such as whiplash.
Symptoms of cervical facet joint problems
Your facet joints give support and structure to your neck and spine and help bear your weight and movements. With so much repetitive motion, cervical facet joint problems can cause:
- Difficulty turning your head
Of course, the telltale signal of cervical facet joint degeneration is persistent pain.
Treating cervical facet joint pain
Dr. Mendoza recommends the most conservative treatments first. In some mild cases, your facet joint pain may be relieved by physical therapy, soft tissue massage, spinal manipulation, or postural correction.
If your condition is severe and chronic, a cervical medial-branch block can alleviate your pain for a while and help determine the exact source of your pain. Dr. Mendoza uses a localized corticosteroid or an anesthetic injection to provide immediate relief by numbing or blocking the nerve signals that are connected to your facet joints. If the procedure is a success, it helps our team determine further treatment options to give you long term relief.
To learn more about nonsurgical pain remedies, call the office in Birmingham, Alabama, or use the online feature to request an appointment.