Thoracic Medial Branch Block
A thoracic medial branch block is performed to diagnose facet joint pain in the area of the upper back and shoulders down to the hips. The procedure is carried out under x-ray guidance to better visualize the area, and local anesthetic is injected into the medial nerves of the thoracic spine. If the local anesthetic calms the pain for its duration, a confirmatory injection and/or radiofrequency ablation can be performed to provide longer-lasting pain relief. A thoracic medial branch block can also be performed for therapeutic purposes by injecting corticosteroid along with the local anesthetic in an attempt to provide additional longer-lasting pain relief.