When pain in the arms or legs are associated with pain in the spine, a minimally invasive procedure known as a selective nerve root block is often used for diagnosis. During a selective nerve block, an anesthetic is injected directly into a specific nerve root of the spine in order to identify the source of the patient’s pain. At the same time, it may also provide relief from pain or other symptoms the individual is experiencing.
Who are Good Candidates for Selective Nerve Root Blocks?
Selective nerve blocks are a great option for those requiring further work up of where the pain or numbness/tingling is coming from..
- Selective nerve blocks are performed in the outpatient setting and usually take about 15 minutes to complete.
- With the patient lying on his or her stomach, the area(s) to be treated are cleaned and prepped in a sterile fashion.
- A specialized x-ray (Fluorscopy) is used by the physician to guide the needle to the exact spinal nerve being blocked
- When the desired location is achieved, a small amount of contrast dye is injected to highlight the location and confirm accurate placement of the needle.
- Once the nerve root is identified and confirmed with the dye, the solution to block the nerve is injected.
- If the pain subsides after injection into the suspected nerve root, it can be assumed that the correct nerve has been treated.
Initially, numbness and/or pain relief is felt from the anesthetic component of the injection. This may last for up to one day following the procedure. Once the numbing medication wears off, previous symptoms may return. Light activity is usually permitted during the first 24 hours, but strenuous activity should be avoided until after 24 hours.
*Individual Result May Vary*