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Selective nerve root blocks are used to diagnose and treat a pinched nerve in the spine. A pinched nerve can be the cause of neck, back, shoulder, arm, or leg pain, and related to spine conditions like a herniated disc or scoliosis.
Prior to the procedure, a local anesthetic will be injected to numb the skin and tissue around the area suspected of causing the pain. Using a fluoroscopy and live x-ray imaging, your doctor will guide a needle to the painful area of the neck or back. This needle will be inserted into the neural foramen space, which is the path in which spinal nerves travel. Contrast dye is injected into the space to ensure the needle is properly positioned near the irritated nerve. Once the needle is positioned correctly, an anesthetic solution is injected into the foramen space, bathing the irritated nerve.
Pain relief can be felt after one injection, but for some, multiple injections may be necessary to provide significant long-term relief. The therapeutic effect of the injection may not occur until a few days or weeks after the procedure as the steroid becomes more effective.