Costovertebral block overview

If you’re experiencing back pain due to damage to a costovertebral joint, which is where the ribs attach to the spine, a costovertebral block is a common injection your physician might recommend to diagnose the specific joint that is causing your problems. While this injection is diagnostic in nature, it can be the first step toward further treatments that can provide you with longer lasting pain relief. Read on to learn more about how this treatment is used and whether it would be effective for you.

How does it work?

During a costovertebral block, your physician will begin by cleaning and numbing your skin in preparation for the injection. Then, using an X-ray device called a fluoroscope, the physician will inject contrast dye into the suspected joint to confirm the needle’s position. Next, he or she will inject a small amount of a numbing medication into the joint believed to be causing your pain.

It is common to experience a slight increase in pain, followed by pain relief after several days. If you do experience adequate pain relief, your physician will use the valuable information obtained during the costovertebral block in order to determine if the joint was correctly targeted as the source of your problems.

What can a costovertebral block do for me?

If the costovertebral block accurately diagnoses which specific joint has been causing your back pain, your physician can use this information to perform further procedures to potentially offer you longer-lasting relief. Through another injection, he or she can inject other medications, typically cortisone, directly into the problematic joint to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

However, if a costovertebral block has failed to locate the source of your back pain, or if you have neck or back pain from another spinal condition, such as bone spurs, facet disease or a bulging disc, consider contacting Laser Spine Institute. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients receive relief from their neck and back pain.

At Laser Spine Institute, we specialize in a wide range of minimally invasive procedures that effectively treat a wide variety of degenerative spine conditions, without the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery. In fact, our minimally invasive spine surgery is often a clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery.^ To learn if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*