A selective nerve root block is an injection containing local anesthesia and steroids administered under an X-ray guidance into the nerve networks of the spinal column. A block is often recommended by your physician for pain in the arm or leg that is followed by the same nerve. The selective nerve root block may serve the therapeutic or diagnostic purpose. Following the injection one of three things may be observed;
- The pain is not relieved, which means that the pain might not caused from the nerve.
- The pain stops immediately and stays away for a few hours, but the pain comes back and is not relieved hours later indicates that the pain is coming from the nerve but the steroid is of no help
The pain is relieved by the block and later it appears the same day, however, the pain fades for the next few days. Indicates the steroid has a potential effect on the nerve, the block was successful and can be repeated appropriately
The procedure is strictly not recommended if you have an active infection, flu, cold, fever, very high blood pressure or if you are taking blood thinner. Pease inform your physician about any of these conditions
Risks of the procedure
As with a number of procedures, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, nerve injury or allergic reactions to the medications used. Some short term side effects may be seen. You might get some numbness in the nerve that is blocked or you may get some weakness as well. If the weakness is hindering your ability to walk then you should remain at the physician’s office until it is resolved, will take only several hours. You might experience increased pain for a couple of days after the selective nerve root blocks, including pain at the injection site. If you are diabetic, you may have a short term increase in your blood sugar level. People who have problem of fluid retention may have increased retention for a couple of weeks
Most of the patients report a stinging or burning sensation from the numbing medicine and it is reported as the most difficult phase of the whole procedure. Though the responses for the procedure may vary from person to person. Since the selective nerve root blocks are done adjacent to a nerve there might be chances to get a slight electric shock feeling