Minimally Invasive Treatments
Medial Branch Blocks
A Medial Branch Block is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat the source of neck and back pain. Facet Joints are surrounded by medial branch nerves, which transmit pain sensations from the facet joints to your brain. A medial branch block prevents signaling from the medial branch nerves to your brain, essentially tricking your brain into thinking you aren’t experiencing any Facet Joint pain. If a medial branch block is effective, it proves that the pain is stemming from a facet joint. If the medial branch block is ineffective, the pain is stemming from elsewhere, and further testing is required.
If the medical branch block provides relief, a Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) is used to provide long term joint relief. During the procedure, and electrical current is produced by a radio wave, which causes nerve tissue to heat up and decrease pain signaling from that area. An RFA acts essentially as a long term Medial Branch Block. However, the Medial Branch Block is first necessary to diagnose the source of pain.
Occipital Nerve Blocks
An Occipital Nerve Block is an injection of steroid and anesthetic, used to reduce swelling and decrease pain related to tissue surrounding the Occipital Nerves, located on the back of your head/neck. The anesthetic provides immediate relief, while the steroid is longer lasting. The procedure itself takes no longer than a few minutes, and you may resume normal daily activities directly after. Due to the anesthetic, you may feel temporary numbness at the site of injection.
Prolotherapy & PRP Therapy
Prolotherapy is a simple injection of dextrose (sugar water) into the ligament, causing localized inflammation and an accelerated healing process due to increased blood flow. It’s mechanism of action is comparable to a flu vaccination; by injecting a mild irritant, your body is tricked into repairing itself faster.
While the response to Prolotherapy varies from individual to individual, the average patient requires 4-6 for a particular area. The best thing to do is get an evaluation by one of our doctors to see if you are an appropriate candidate. Once you begin treatment, our doctor can tell better how you are responding and give you an accurate estimate.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a procedure that uses one’s own blood to accelerate the healing process. Blood is extracted from the patient’s body, then spun in a special centrifuge to concentrate and increase the blood platelet count. This “Platelet Rich Plasma” is then injected into the damaged tissue to accelerate the healing process.
Platelets are a component of blood that stimulate healing. Therefore, concentrating these platelets to a higher level improves healing. However, it’s important that platelets aren’t over-concentrated, as this may lead to an increase in inflammation and pain. The ideal multiplier of platelets is 4-6 times the base concentration.
Radial Tunnel Syndrome
Radial Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the radial nerves in the elbow are compressed by surrounding tissue as they pass through the radial tunnel. Symptoms include pain in the wrist, forearm and elbow. The pain is often chronic, and increases with elbow extension.
A Radial Tunnel Injection is an injection containing corticosteroid and anesthetic, which is injected into the radial tunnel in order to reduce pressure on the radial nerves. The local anesthetic decreases pain immediately, while the corticosteroid reduces inflammation of the surrounding tissue in order to decrease compression of the radial nerves, providing long term pain relief.
Radiofrequency rhizotomy, also known as neurotomy, is a minimally-invasive procedure for treating nerve pain in the spine. The procedure works by sending pulses of heat energy generated by radio waves to the affected nerves. The goal is to stop these nerves from processing pain signals from injured facet joints, the small joints located between the vertebrae.
Normally this method of pain management is not used unless the patient’s nerve pain has not responded to other more conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy. The goal of a radiofrequency rhizotomy is to reduce back pain without reducing nerve function. Diagnostic testing is usually performed before the procedure to make sure precisely which nerves are causing the problem.