Synergy Health Partners

What is a Lumbar Medial Branch Block?

A Lumbar Medial Branch Block (LMBB) is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat chronic lower back pain. This technique involves injecting an anesthetic near the medial branch nerves, which are responsible for transmitting pain signals from the facet joints in the lumbar spine. By temporarily blocking these nerves, LMBB helps to identify the source of pain and can provide immediate, though short-term, relief.

Lumbar Medial Branch Block

Why Might You Need a Lumbar Medial Branch Block?

You might be a candidate for a Lumbar Medial Branch Block if you experience persistent lower back pain that has not responded to other treatments. Conditions often treated with LMBB include:

  • Facet Joint Arthritis: Degeneration of the joints between the spine bones.
  • Chronic Low Back Pain: Ongoing back pain without an identifiable cause.
  • Post-Surgical Pain: Persistent pain following spine surgery.
  • Spondylosis: Age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks.

What Are the Steps in an Lumbar Medial Branch Block Procedure?

Preoperative Preparation
  • Medical Evaluation: Thorough assessment of medical history and current symptoms.
  • Medication Review: Some medications may need to be paused before the procedure.
  • Fasting: Instructions may be given regarding fasting if sedation is required.
During the Procedure
  1. Patient Positioning: The patient lies face down on a procedure table.
  2. Local Anesthesia: The skin over the injection site is numbed.
  3. Needle Insertion: Using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance, a needle is placed near the medial branch nerves.
  4. Injection: A local anesthetic is injected to numb the targeted nerves.
Postoperative Care
  • Monitoring: Patients are observed for a short time after the procedure.
  • Activity Restrictions: Limited physical activity for the rest of the day is recommended, gradually returning to normal activities as comfort allows.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Postoperative Care
  • Pain Relief: Pain relief can be immediate but is typically temporary, lasting from a few hours to several days.
  • Pain Diary: Patients may be asked to keep a pain diary to track the effectiveness of the block.
  • Follow-Up: A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to discuss the results and plan further treatment, which may include additional blocks or radiofrequency ablation for longer-term relief.

Potential Complications

While Lumbar Medial Branch Blocks are generally safe, potential complications include:

  • Infection: Rare, but possible at the injection site.
  • Bleeding: Minor bleeding may occur.
  • Allergic Reaction: Possible reaction to the anesthetic.
  • Nerve Damage: Extremely rare but a potential risk.

Benefits of Lumbar Medial Branch Block in Pain Management

  • Pain Relief: Effective in reducing lower back pain and improving mobility.
  • Diagnostic Value: Helps determine if the facet joints are the source of pain.
  • Non-Surgical: Offers a minimally invasive option for pain management.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Enhances the ability to perform daily activities with less pain.

Find a Pain Management Surgeon

Find a Location


For appointments contact
Scheduling: 855.750.5757

For billing questions
Billing: 586.439.6242

Fax: 734.542.0220


For appointments contact
Scheduling: 855.750.5757

For billing questions
Billing: 586.439.6242

Fax: 586.261.1961
Fax (Pain Management): 586.838.1603