A diagnostic medial facet nerve block is a diagnostic test done to find out if the small nerves that supply the spinal facet joints are the source of pain. X-ray dye is injected to be sure the needle is positioned correctly for the area to be tested. Local anesthetic medication is injected in the area where the nerves are located to temporarily “block” or interrupt the nerve signals to see if this relieves pain. The local anesthetic may provide immediate, but temporary relief. After the procedure, the provider will interview and evaluate the patient to see if there is pain relief and the patient will be asked to track his/her pain for the next several hours. The nerve block is only a test and any pain relief is temporary. Once the local anesthetic wears off it is expected that pain will return to its usual level. Nerve blocks are useful diagnostic tools to assist in planning care options.
Tracking and Recording Pain Relief
- Patients will be asked to record pain relief every fifteen minutes following the injection.
- Patients are encouraged to move around paying special attention to positions and activities that usually cause pain to see if pain is present or pain is relieved.
- A nurse will provide instruction on how to track pain on a Nerve Block Pain Relief Form
Once pain has returned to its normal level may stop keeping track.