Facet joints are present throughout the spine to allow for side bending and twisting motions. Like other joints in the body, facet joints are prone to injuries and degenerative changes which manifest as pain, tenderness and muscle spasms. Facet joints have dedicated nerve supply called the medial branches. Each joint is supplied by 2 nerves. One nerve is located at the same level and a second nerve at the level just above. Medial branch blocks involve injecting a small amount of local anesthetic (novocaine) in the vicinity of each nerve. If blocking the medial branches results in good relief, radiofrequency ablation (cauterization) is recommended.
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