A selective nerve root block (SNRB) is an injection procedure that can be performed for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. In an outpatient setting, a physician injects a mixture consisting of a numbing agent and a steroid medication at the site of a nerve root that is believed to be causing painful symptoms. Because the injection is precise and the medication dosage is small, only one nerve root will be affected by the numbing agent. This can help a physician isolate an irritated nerve to confirm a diagnosis, and also reduce painful inflammation.
How long will it take to see a change?
After a selective nerve root block, you may experience:
- Temporary numbness and pain relief for up to six hours after the injection (due to the effects of the anesthetic medication)
- A return of your original symptoms, which may seem slightly worse than usual for about one to two days
- Meaningful pain relief and other beneficial effects of the long-acting steroid medication that become apparent within a few days
Your physician will ask you to make a note of any changes in your pain levels at various intervals after your procedure. When evaluating your response to treatment, your physician can review this log and also perform a physical examination.
Will you need further injections?
If an initial injection is effective for you, a second injection may provide further benefits. If your pain subsides completely but later returns, additional SNRB injections may be an option. To reduce the risk of side effects, most physicians recommend a maximum of three injections in a one-year period. Your physician can help you determine the best approach for you.
If are interested in selective nerve root block injections, you are encouraged to talk with your physician to learn more.