Costovertebral block

If you’re experiencing back pain due to damage to a costovertebral joint — where the ribs attach to the spine — a costovertebral block is a common injection procedure 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.

How does it work?

During a costovertebral block, your physician will begin by cleaning and anesthetizing 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 costovertebral joint believed to be causing your pain. Shortly after the process is completed, you may experience full or partial relief from your back pain, giving your physician valuable information to determine if the joint in question 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 turning to Laser Spine Institute. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 75,000 patients receive pain relief from their neck and back pain. Our surgeons specialize in a wide range of minimally invasive procedures that effectively treat a wide variety of degenerative spine conditions, without the invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery. In fact, our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice over open back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more and speak to one of our Spine Care Consultants.