Cervical Selective Nerve Root Block

A cervical nerve root block is performed for pain that is caused by an irritated nerve root. The aim of the procedure is to reduce the inflammation of the nerve root and also block the pain impulse from traveling up the nerve to the brain. This will then bring partial or complete (but temporary) relief of the pain.

What happens during the procedure?
While lying on a table, the skin over your spine will be well cleaned. The physician will numb a small area of skin with numbing medicine which stings for a few seconds. Next, the physician will use X-ray guidance to direct a very small needle just next to the nerve root without injuring the nerve root. He will then inject contrast dye to confirm that the medicine flows around the nerve root. This may temporarily increase your usual pain. Then, anti-inflammatory steroid (with or without local anesthetic) will be injected along the nerve root to improve your pain, if that nerve is the source of your pain.

What happens after the procedure?
A dressing may be applied to the injection site. You will remain in the office for about 15-20 minutes and the nurse will monitor your blood pressure and pulse. The nurse will review your discharge instructions and you will be able to go home. You may experience numbness or weakness to the affected limb for a few hours after the procedure. If this happens do not walk without assistance. Your physician may refer you to a physical therapist while the anti-inflammatory steroid is still working.