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Complementary Alternatives Therapies

Cervical medial branch block

  • By dseverance1

    Has anyone had this done as treatment for your migraines? Has anyone heard of this as a treatment for migraines? I’m a vet and have been suffering with migraines now for well over 20 years. Recently the VA sent me to a private pain clinic whose treatment method recommendation was cervical medial branch block. After several days of trying to research it I haven’t found any evidence to show the effectiveness of this treatment. Before I let some unknown Doctor shove a sharp object into my neck I want to know if it’s worth the risk. By the way, I’m new here, just joined today.

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  • By Dana

    They are mainly used for neck pain. The nerves that would affect your migraines would high up C1-C4. I’ve had blocks in the past ( lower) and gotten some neck pain relief. I’m having C-2 through C-4 done this Thursday, but my doctor warned me your migraines and neck pain are completely different. She said you may get some mild relief from your migraines, but this is not a migraine treatment. I’m doing it anyway, because I’m desperate and if I get some neck pain relief where the nerves are that have “some kind of connection to migraines”, I’m going to try it. Where are the doing the blocks? And do you suffer from neck pain? I’m interested to hear what another doctors approach is, because I’m learning they are all different. Please let me know what your doctor told you and what you decide to do. Good luck.
    Dana

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  • By dseverance1

    It’s being done at a pain clinic in Augusta, GA. I do have a little pain now and then with my neck, however I do have a loss of ROM and pain when trying to do ROM. To be honest, it was my first visit there, they did not have any of my records, MRI or X-ray results there for review, and yet the first recommended treatment was the branch block. I did not see a doctor, I saw a PA, which I have found is not always a bad thing. She went mostly off of my verbal history which is not very thorough due to memory issues. I had been receiving Botox injections until a few months ago until the VA choice program stopped paying the neurologist they had sent me to. I tried to keep them going using my personal insurance but the cost out of pocket was too much. The Botox seemed to be helping but I had only had two rounds of injections so it’s hard to know for sure. Have you done any research on them? If so what did you find or where did you find it?

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  • By Dana

    Well, it’s not so much about research, it’s that I have had them done many times, that’s why I asked where in the c-spine they were doing them. I have neck problems and have had C-6 through C-7 done many times, hoping if I didn’t have the neck pain, maybe I wouldn’t get migraine’s (you know the chicken and the egg thing). But that wasn’t the case. I was referred to a pain specialist who wanted to do blocks and then a radio frequency ablation at C-2 and C-3 , but she did a trial of 3 with just lidocaine, no steroids, and on the third one I had an unrelated bad reaction ( so she refused to proceed) so I went back to the doctor who had done the other injections and they said they would try them with the steroid, no trial, but they would not do an ablation that high and it was unlikely it would help with my migraines. But like I said, I’m trying anything these days. You probably haven’t found much research on it for migraines because generally that isn’t what it’s used for. Even the doctor who was going to do it for my migraines documented my chief complaint as “neck pain “. If they are doing it any lower than C-4 I would question them, if not, you just have to decide whether or not you think it’s worth it. It would be like getting one Botox injection. I can let you know Friday how I feel. When is yours scheduled for?

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi dseverance1

    I’m sorry you are having such a difficult time with the VA. It seems to be a common theme. I think you are right to research this block. I’m not sure about this treatment for migraine disease, other than temporary pain relief. Dana has given you great information as well.

    There is a Botox savings card that may be helpful. You can find that information here; https://www.botoxsavingsprogram.com/.

    Let me do a bit of research on this for migraine and get back to you.

    Nancy

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    • By dseverance1

      Thanks and yes it does seem to be the theme with them. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to get treatment through them. Anyway that’s for a different blog. I thank you for any help and info you can find and send my way.

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    • By kblange

      Hi Nancy. I see you’re a moderator so maybe you can help me. Is this the same as an occipital block? I’m a newbie and can’t find any info on it. Thanks for your help.

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  • By Dana

    Sorry I didn’t respond yesterday….I have a throbbing, jump off a bridge migraine 😢. Now when I was in the office I saw the Nurse Practicioner, and I don’t frown upon APN’s. My psychiatrist is an APN and if he move to Guam, I’d follow him. But I have been with this office for several years, and I have never liked her, I have voiced that I don’t like her….even to the doctor when I’m on the table getting ready for the shots. This time he even said he’d make arrangements for me to see his partners APN or himself (which they only do for initial consults from now on). Anyway, he said cervical pain can cause migraines and we should talk about it further, but proceed with the shot anyway. The instant that needle went into my neck, I felt it, the throbbing, the naseua, and I don’t think it helps that the injection site is sooo sore either. I’m not saying don’t proceed, my story isn’t your story. I’m saying ask more questions. It’s sounds like they told you “this is what we’re gonna do” and sent you home to figure out exactly what it was they were gonna do. Now BA insurance is a whole nuther cup of tea, so I don’t know how difficult that will be for you. Which, by the way, is disgraceful. Our country treats our Vets like second class citizens. Keep me posted and Thank you for all you have done to serve our country.
    Warmly,
    Dana

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  • By Cyndi

    Hello all,
    I’ve been recently told that I would benefit from a medial branch block due to the results of my neck MRI. I’ve had migraines for over 25 years, done Botox for 4 years, & have had trigger point injections. I still continue to have chronic migraines. ugh! I’m curious to see if it worked for dseverance1. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    Take care,
    Cyndi

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