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Selective Nerve Root Blocks

A selective nerve block is the injection of an anesthetic and steroid medication around the spinal nerve root to diagnose or treat pain. It is indicated to relieve pain, weakness, numbness and tingling sensation in your neck, back and extremities due to nerve injuries such as a pinched nerve and spinal stenosis (narrowing).

A selective nerve block is an outpatient procedure during which you will lie on your stomach on an X-ray table and your doctor will administer a sedative intravenously to help you relax during the procedure. Your vitals will be constantly monitored. Your doctor locates the target site with the help of X-ray imaging. A contrast dye is used to ensure that the needle is accurately placed and the medication is then delivered to the target site to help relieve pain and inflammation. If the nerve block is performed as a diagnostic procedure, you will be instructed to note any changes in the levels of pain at different intervals. This helps your doctor evaluate which nerve is causing pain. The entire procedure takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

You may have pain relief immediately after the injection, but pain may return after a few hours as the anesthesia wears off. The effects of the treatment will be usually noticed 2 or 3 days after the treatment. If you respond well to the first injection, you may be advised to have another injection after a period of time for better relief.

With any procedure there may be risks, complications or side effects. The most common side effect of selective nerve block is pain (temporary), bruising, infection at the site of the injection and nerve damage.