Nerve roots are attached to the spinal cord and travel out of each side of the spinal column at every spinal level. They carry signals throughout the body from the skin to the muscles. When one of the nerve roots is irritated, patients may experience pain, numbness, tingling and sometimes weakness down an arm or a leg.
A specialized needle is placed near the exiting nerve root in question using fluoroscopy low dose x-ray. Anti-inflammatory medication is injected around this nerve. Sedation may be offered for patient comfort.
Nerve root blocks are commonly performed procedures for patients with symptoms of a herniated disc, sciatica or swelling and/or irritation in the nerve roots.
This procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes (depending on how many nerve roots are injected).
You may have some numbness for a short while after the block. You will be discharged when you can safely walk (expect to be in the center for 1-2 hours). When the procedure is over, the numbing medicine may make your legs feel temporarily weak. Therefore, you should limit your activity on the day of your procedure.
Selective nerve root blocks may successfully relieve symptoms caused by a herniated disc. They also may be used to delay or even eliminate the need for surgery or other procedures for some people who have severe pain caused by a herniated disc.