Selective Nerve Root Blocks

What are Selective Nerve Root Blocks?

A selective nerve root block refers to a local anesthetic injection along a particular nerve root in order to alleviate pain. All along your spine lies several ‘foramina’ or ‘holes’ by which nerve roots surface. If these holes are partly closed due to misalignment of vertebrae, bone spurs, or bulging disks, etc., the nerve root may eventually pinch. This generally causes intense radiating or shooting pain along that specific nerve root. In the case of a selective nerve root block, the doctor injects a small needle inside the foramen next to the nerve root so that the medication can be injected.

Spinal Nerve Inflammation

Spinal nerves can develop inflammation from compression, for instance, due to bone spur contact or from a damaged disc. Depending on the exact location of the nerve itself, pain or other associated symptoms like tingling or numbness may arise in different places throughout the body as well. In the cervical spine, nerve irritation may cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the shoulder, arm, or neck. In the thoracic spine, nerve irritation can generate pain in the upper back or pain near the ribs and/or chest wall. Lumbar (lower back) nerve irritation can create pain in the lower back, buttock pain, hip pain, or pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg.

How Selective Nerve Root Blocks are Performed

The procedure is generally performed with the patient lying on their side for a neck injection and on their belly for a back injection, while oxygenation and blood pressure are typically monitored. In addition to the X-ray technician and doctor, a nurse is often present in the room in case you need anything throughout the procedure. The neck or back skin is thoroughly cleansed with antiseptic prior to starting the procedure. Although the injection itself only takes a couple of minutes, it’s best to allow a full hour to get the procedure done.

What to Expect

After your skin is completely numb, you may feel some pressure from the needle at the injection site, even though the needle placement isn’t painful. But, remember that the nerve root is irritated, sore, and pinched, and so while the local anesthetic is being injected, you could feel somewhat achy along the nerve root temporarily until the anesthetic starts to set in, which usually takes around 15 seconds or so. All of these sensations are quite normal.

V. K. Puppala, M.D. is an expert in pain management and serves patients throughout the Atlanta, GA area. Dr. Puppala treats each of his patients with great respect and compassion and is very concerned about their level of pain as well as their general well-being. Dr. Puppala takes a unique approach to pain management by using a variety of minimally invasive interventional techniques, including practical restoration and successful medication management. Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN today to set up an initial appointment.

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Contact Us Today

Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN to schedule an appointment today with Dr. Puppala at his practice in Lithia Springs, Georgia.