Nerve Root Blocks
A nerve root block is the injection of a therapeutic steroid and local anesthetic medication under X-ray guidance into the area where the nerve exits in the spinal column (nerve root). Nerve root block injections can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
Pain relief resulted from nerve root blocks ranges from minimal to long-term. If a patient experiences a period of sustained pain relief from the injection, the injection may be repeated for further pain relief. Sometimes, nerve root block is conducted to help the physician determine whether or not surgery will be helpful and if yes, at what level of the spine the surgery should be performed.
What to expect from Nerve Root Blocks
Your pain may be improved immediately after a nerve root block injection. The steroid used in nerve block injections, however, usually takes two or three days to start to have an effect in most people, peaking in about two weeks. If you experience local tenderness after receiving nerve block injections, use an ice pack three to four times a day to help alleviate the tenderness. Remember to keep track of the amount of pain relief you have received and how long the relief lasts, because this information may help your physician in determining your next treatment.