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Selective Nerve Block for back pain

At a Glance


A block can be a valuable predictor of the outcome of surgery under consideration for the treatment of foraminal stenosis or a foraminal disc herniation. If the pain can be reproduced and then taken away with the block, the patient should have a good to excellent result from decompression surgery involving that particular nerve.

In a selective nerve root block, the patient receives a mild sedative and remains awake during the procedure. Then, while the patient lies face down on a table, a pain-management physician uses fluoroscopy (television x-ray) to guide a needle close to a targeted nerve and injects medication, including local anesthetic.

The patient then tells the doctor whether pain is relieved or not. The anesthetic and an accompanying steroid help to decrease inflammation. Pain relief from this injection may vary from minimal to long term, depending on the specific symptoms.

Sometimes during the block the doctor may also perform a procedure called a neurogram by injecting a contrast dye into the nerve sheath in order to better identify the nerve.

More than one selective nerve block may be performed if the patient has symptoms of multi-nerve involvement.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does a selective nerve block treat?
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