Treating Joint Pain The Right Way

The body has over 200 joints that help with movement and flexibility. With all that movement comes the possibility of joint pain. Most joints have soft cartilage and synovial fluid that helps with shock absorption. Should this cartilage wear away for some reason, the results could be painful. In some cases, the pain can last so long that medical treatment is the only option. Within a doctor’s toolkit are a medial branch block and radiofrequency ablation. These 2 procedures help with pain management in different ways.

3 Things to Know Before Your FESS surgery

Reasons for MBB and RFA

If a doctor is considering a medial branch block or radiofrequency ablation, the joint pain has not responded well to conservative treatment. Most cases are due to spondylosis which is osteoarthritis of the spine. Osteoarthritis can cause facet joints to rub on each other and also press on surrounding nerves. Major joints like the hip, knee, shoulder, and neck can also benefit from these treatments. Medial branch block or radiofrequency ablation means improved pain relief, delayed surgery, and a better quality of life.

Block inflammation with MBB

A medial branch block (MBB) is a minimally invasive procedure focused on relieving pain. The method targets the facet joints and medial branch nerves of the spine explicitly. The medial branch nerves are a group of nerves around the facet joints. If these nerves become inflamed in any way, the result can be painful. A medial branch block is an injection of powerful anesthetic into the space to reduce inflammation. In some cases, the doctor injects both anesthetic and steroid for more extended relief.

Ready for treatment?

The procedure takes less than 30 minutes and is typically performed by a radiologist, anesthesiologist, or surgeon. The patient will lie face down on the operating table and receive a local anesthetic to numb the injection site. The doctor uses fluoroscopy, a special kind of x-ray that helps the doctor see the location of the needle on a monitor. From there, the specialist guides the needle to the appropriate joint and administers the medication. The patient can leave shortly after the procedure and should experience relief within a few days. Some doctors use an MBB to gauge if a patient will benefit from Radiofrequency Ablation.

Burning away your pain

Radiofrequency Ablation or RFA is another effective pain management technique. The goal is to use radio waves to ablate or burn the nerve endings near the painful joint. Nerve endings send pain signals to the brain. By removing the communication between the two, the symptoms of joint pain improve significantly. An RFA follows the same process as a medial branch block. The doctor uses fluoroscopy to direct a needle to medial branch nerves. A radiofrequency wave is then passed through the needle, destroying the nerve ends near the joint. Patients should feel the full effects of RFA 10 to 14 days after treatment. Over 1 to 2 years, the nerve ends regenerate, so patients should feel relief until then.

What’s the difference?

Pain reduction is the goal of both procedures. Both also use fluoroscopy to access the joint and apply the treatment. However, there are some key differences. A medial branch block uses medication to numb the joint capsule. RFA, on the other hand, destroys the nerve endings completely. Destroying the nerve endings extends the effectiveness of the procedure for 1 year or more. MBB can last 2-3 months, which means a patient can get multiple treatments yearly. RFA can also help other joints in the body, but MBB is limited to the facet joints. The doctor will choose the right one, or in some cases, both procedures to help with the pain.

Get help for your joint pain today

Both treatments are effective ways of treating spinal joint pain. The significant difference is numbing versus destroying the nerve ends completely. In the case of osteoarthritis in other joints, radiofrequency ablation may help. Studies show that the procedures have up to an 87% success rate after 1 year. Knowing the difference also helps patients choose the most suitable procedure. Discuss the pros and cons of both treatments with a doctor and take action for long-term pain relief.

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“Dr. Tupper was amazing! He spent time explaining exactly what he was doing, what I would experience and made sure I was comfortable.”

“Everyone was friendly and the place was very clean.”

“No severe pain – Just a little discomfort – I was asked several times during procedure if I was OK – they showed genuine concern for my well being.”

“Everyone was concerned with my comfort.”

“Everyone was friendly and concerned about my comfort. They frequently asked how I was doing, or if I needed something.”
“The staff was very polite, they were excellent. They explained exactly what was going on.”
“Rebecca was amazing. I have always had trouble in the past with getting an IV started. I told Rebecca I was concerned about it. She got it on the 1st try – no digging in my arm and NO bruising the next day.”

“I liked that it was so clean. Every staff member was pleasant and easy to talk with.”

“Entire staff was knowledgeable and courteous. They genuinely cared for my well being and made sure my wife and I were taken care of.”

“The STAFF from the moment you walk in were the nicest people I’ve encountered at a medical facility.”
“The nurses were very nice and caring!”
“Dr. Dedhia made everything clear and even scheduled an early follow-up appt so I could get back to work sooner.”

“Everyone was friendly and the place was very clean.”

“No severe pain – Just a little discomfort – I was asked several times during procedure if I was OK – they showed genuine concern for my well being.”

“Entire staff was knowledgeable and courteous. They genuinely cared for my well being and made sure my wife and I were taken care of.”

“Everyone was concerned with my comfort.”

“Dr. Best…is the best!”

“Amazing nurses, very caring and friendly and put both me and my son at ease.”

“Amazing nurses, very caring and friendly and put both me and my son at ease.”

“The staff was great, especially Mary and Marcia. Marcia was extremely helpful post-op and made sure I was comfortable and well-cared for.”

“All staff were wonderful.”

“All staff were wonderful.”

“I liked that it was so clean. Every staff member was pleasant and easy to talk with.”

“Incredibly professional, friendly and confidence of knowing their roles as healthcare employees. Excellent!”
“The staff was very polite, they were excellent. They explained exactly what was going on.”
“Dr. Best…is the best!”

“Anesthesia staff was outstanding!”

“Rebecca was amazing. I have always had trouble in the past with getting an IV started. I told Rebecca I was concerned about it. She got it on the 1st try – no digging in my arm and NO bruising the next day.”
“Dr. Tupper was amazing! He spent time explaining exactly what he was doing, what I would experience and made sure I was comfortable.”
“The nurses were very nice and caring!”

“Anesthesia staff was outstanding!”

“Incredibly professional, friendly and confidence of knowing their roles as healthcare employees. Excellent!”

“Marcia and staff were excellent and genuinely cared for my well being. Wish I could have taken them home.”

“NO wait time, RN Rebecca answered all questions prior to my visit by phone and again answered all questions and concerns while prepping me.”
“Experience was amazing. The nurses my son needed at this time couldn’t have been chosen any more perfect. They were supportive and understanding, patient and just great human beings.THANK YOU KINDLY ”
“Efficiency of the staff. Courteous, friendly and caring attitude. Excellent office staff. Pleasant surroundings.”
“Experience was amazing. The nurses my son needed at this time couldn’t have been chosen any more perfect. They were supportive and understanding, patient and just great human beings.THANK YOU KINDLY ”
“Efficiency of the staff. Courteous, friendly and caring attitude. Excellent office staff. Pleasant surroundings.”
“Everyone was friendly and concerned about my comfort. They frequently asked how I was doing, or if I needed something.”
“Dr. Dedhia made everything clear and even scheduled an early follow-up appt so I could get back to work sooner.”
“NO wait time, RN Rebecca answered all questions prior to my visit by phone and again answered all questions and concerns while prepping me.”

“I can’t say enough about Marcia and the entire team. The care I received was well beyond anything I could have expected.”

“The STAFF from the moment you walk in were the nicest people I’ve encountered at a medical facility.”

“I can’t say enough about Marcia and the entire team. The care I received was well beyond anything I could have expected.”

“Marcia and staff were excellent and genuinely cared for my well being. Wish I could have taken them home.”

“The staff was great, especially Mary and Marcia. Marcia was extremely helpful post-op and made sure I was comfortable and well-cared for.”

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