Nerve Root Block

Pain Services

Nerve Root Block

What is a nerve root block?

Nerve root injections are often prescribed when there are issues diagnosing the source of spinal pain through diagnostic imaging tools such as MRI or CT scans, but it is apparent that spinal nerves are at the root of the patients’ pain. In this procedure, a steroid is injected into the nerves surrounding the spine in an effort to reduce irritation and swelling, resulting in reduced pain levels. Through the injection, the pain signals sent to the brain are blocked. 

As this procedure requires the use of anesthetic or localized freezing, pain relief is often felt immediately. But, as the freezing wears off, pain relief as a result of your injection typically sets in between 2-5 days. 

Frequently asked questions:

Nerve root block is a specifically useful treatment when the source of your pain has been difficult to determine. By injecting the nerves along your spine, the target is to successfully locate and develop a treatment to address the nerves causing you back, arm, leg, or neck pain.

You may be a candidate for nerve root block treatment if you have pain stemming from nerves running along the spine. Nerve root block treatment is typically recommended for patients where more conservative treatments have been unsuccessful in managing pain.

Prior to your procedure, all medical history is examined, diagnostic images reviewed to determine the placement of injection, and the procedure is outlined to the patient. Patients that are taking blood thinners may be asked to discontinue prior to treatment. Please consult with your doctor prior to treatment. If the patient has any questions, they are answered at this time.

Once the patient is in a gown and on the operating table, they are given a local anesthetic. While on your stomach, small needles are placed along the targeted nerves aided with the use of fluoroscopy and the targeted tissues are then treated. 

As most patients can walk immediately following the procedure and are discharged the same day, please ensure you have arranged for transportation to and from your appointment. Patients can typically return to normal activity the day after their procedure. If pain or swelling occurs in the injection areas, patients are able to manage using ice and over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil. 

Patients can expect to experience decreased levels of pain if the targeted nerves in your nerve root block treatment are the source of your pain. 

As nerve root block is a relatively safe procedure, minor risks include localized swelling or numbness, nerve pain, infection, or insufficient pain relief.  

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