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Selective Nerve Root Blocks May Be the Solution to Your Pain

Chronic pain takes a toll on your enjoyment of everyday life. Rather than resorting to prescription painkillers—or just simply living with the pain—there are some effective treatments that can not only discover the cause of your pain, but also help reduce it. Many patients enjoy relief from pain, especially back pain, with selective nerve root blocks. This minimally invasive procedure both diagnoses and treats pain.

Here’s what you need to know about selective nerve root blocks, and how you can determine if the procedure’s right for you.

What is a selective nerve root block?

The selective nerve root block procedure involves an injection of local anesthetic into a specific nerve root in the spine. The procedure pinpoints the source of a patient’s pain, while also providing therapeutic, long-lasting relief.

How do selective nerve root blocks treat pain? When a spinal nerve root is compressed, inflamed, or irritated, you’ll often experience severe back pain. You may even feel pain in your lower or upper extremities, depending on the location of the irritated nerves. For example, patients with cervical spinal irritation can feel numbness, pain, and tingling in the back, neck, shoulders, and arms.

Since nerves connect the entire body, it can be hard to find the actual source of your pain. Even a sophisticated MRI may fail to show which nerve ending is damaged. A selective nerve root block can effectively isolate the problem nerve root, so you and your medical team can determine if it’s what’s causing your pain.

Patients suffering from any of the following conditions may benefit from a selective nerve root block procedure:

  • Arthritis
  • Bulging intervertebral discs
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Herniated disc
  • Lumbar radiculopathy
  • Spinal stenosis

What Is the Selective Nerve Root Block Procedure Like?

A selective nerve root block is minimally invasive and only takes between 30 to 60 minutes to perform. As you lay under a fluoroscopic X-ray, your medical team will clean the skin and then numb it with a local anesthetic. Using fluoroscopic guidance, your doctor will insert the needle into position within your spine. The doctor will inject contrast dye to ensure correct needle placement.

Your doctor will administer the selective nerve root block just above the targeted nerve root through the space between the vertebrae, injecting a local anesthetic (often lidocaine) and a steroid like dexamethasone.

If you experience relief from pain following the procedure, you can safely assume your doctor has discovered and neutralized the pain-generating nerve. While relief varies among patients, many people feel pain relief that lasts from several days to several months. Most patients can resume normal activities as soon as the day after the procedure.

Is Selective Nerve Root Block Right for You?

A selective nerve root block can provide immediate relief from pain. If you’re wondering whether this procedure is right for you, talk to the compassionate team at Impact Medical Group of Sarasota. We’ll get to know you and your symptoms, recommending the best course of treatment to get you back to living a pain-free life. Call us today at (941) 222-1157 to schedule your free consultation!