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Selective Nerve Root Block for Pain Diagnosis

A selective nerve root block is a procedure designed to be a diagnostic test to determine which specific spinal nerve is the source of your pain.

Along the spine, there are several “holes” (foramina) through which nerve roots emerge. Bulging discs, bone spurs, misalignment of vertebrae and other spinal disorders can cause these holes to partially close. This can cause the nerve root to become pinched and create shooting and/or radiating pain.

A selective nerve root block is an injection that delivers anesthetic and/or steroid medication to a specific root site. If the medication reduces pain symptoms, then the source of the pain is identified. From there, your physician can discuss further treatments (such as Radiofrequency Ablation) to provide more lasting relief.

This injection targets a painful nerve in your cervical spine. It helps your doctor find which nerve is pressed on by a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or some other problem. It may give you pain relief.

Common Questions about Selective Nerve Root Block

A selective nerve root block typically has very few risks. However, as with any medical procedure, there are some risks and side effects you should know about and discuss with your physician. Potential side effects from the selective nerve root block itself are rare but you’ll want to pay particular attention and alert SpineOne if any of these symptoms continue after 24-48 hours:

  • An increase in pain where needle was injected – typically no more than two days
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache that typically goes away within 24 hours

Selective Nerve Root Block is a non-surgical treatment option for leg and/or back pain. A selective nerve root block can be useful for providing pain relief and as a diagnostic tool to help identify the source of a patient’s back and/or leg pain.

If you are allergic to certain medications, are on blood-thinning medication(s) or have an active infection, please inform your physician to determine if this course of treatment is right for you.

The choice is yours. You can choose either to have IV sedation, which may keep you very comfortable, or have the procedure done under a local anesthetic only. If you choose sedation, please be sure to have a driver with you.

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