Care at CNSO – Medial Branch Blocks for Neck Pain and Back Pain
NECK AND BACK PAIN can be caused by many different medical conditions or life circumstances. Genetics, accidents, or the normal aging process can cause arthritis of the spine, disc degeneration, or herniated discs. Sports injuries, car accidents, slip and falls, and the resulting arthritis can cause the surrounding nerves and spinal cord to be disrupted. The first, and most, important step to resolving neck pain or back pain is to establish the correct diagnosis.
The level at which there will be a spine injury is difficult to predict. When it occurs, the individual effected will experience pain in the body parts of the spine and nerves impacted by the structural deformity and further effected with the onset of arthritis.
The experts at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics schedule patients with ample time to listen to what they are physically experiencing. This is essential to identifying the cause and the solution to neck pain or back pain. The doctors correlate each patient’s symptoms with their test results which then correctly identifies where the pain in originating.
Given the complexity of the nervous system along with the 33 bones of the spine, a thorough knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics is necessary to treat back pain. The spine is interconnected by a number of joints, called facets, that enable a person to bend their spine in every direction. These facet joint links one vertebral bone to the next. Arthritis is prone to occur in facet joints. With the thorough physical evaluation as well as proper imaging, the CNSO pain doctors can determine not only where the nerve causing the pain is located but also whether there is a structural anatomy that should be corrected.
Over half of the patients with neck pain have arthritis in their neck. The neck, referred to as the cervical region of the spine, has seven vertebral bones. The level of the cervical bone starting beneath the skull, determines its name: C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, and C7. The most common levels of arthritis in the neck are between C3 and C4 or between C4 and C5.
In the low back, or lumbosacral region, is comprised of five vertebral bones: L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5. The most common levels of arthritis are between L4 and L5 as well as between L5 and S1. Nearly 20% to 50% of patients with low back pain have facet arthritis. This arthritis causes irritation to the medial nerve branch that exists within the facet joint.
Acute injuries from car accidents or falls can cause underlying conditions of facet arthritis to worsen. This leads to severe neck pain or back pain that previously was not present. The pain doctors at CNSO know how to diagnose and treat facet joint disease by a simple medial branch nerve block which is a ten-minute, non-invasive, local anesthetic and steroid injection. They routinely help patient resolve either neck pain or back pain.