What Is A Nerve Root Block?
Despite its name, a nerve root block is a type of noninvasive, nonsurgical procedure which is used to both identify and resolve pain of a spinal nerve which may be causing pain. The procedure itself is administered via an injection into the nerve with a compound formulated to block the nerve by numbing it. It is also not uncommon for an x-ray procedure to be performed first before the actual injection to help with locating the nerve. The pain relief associated with the procedure is long-lasting although; not permanent.
What About the Procedure?
The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes to complete and may, in some cases, involve sedating the patient beforehand. The injection contains a local anesthetic to numb the nerve at the point of administration immediately. Should the patient’s pain dissipate over some time, then the procedure is considered a success.
Within the injection is also a compound to help reduce inflammation in the area surrounding the nerve and the spinal discs. This additional benefit will help reduce pain and discomfort the patient might be feeling as well as promote a longer period of relief. It is not uncommon for some portion of the patient’s pain to be connected to the inflamed area around the nerve; and as such, our procedure at Progressive Pain & Rehabilitation will relieve two sources of pain at once with this single procedure.
What Are the Side Effects?
The procedure is entirely safe and very low risk. Patients who are anxious or squeamish about needles can receive sedation so they can relax during the procedure. While safe, there are some side effects which can occur after the procedure:
- Soreness at the site of injection.
- Elevated blood sugar levels.
- Itching or a rash.
- A surplus of energy.
These side effects are usually temporary, vary between patients and type of nerve block being administered.
Nerve Block Uses and Benefits
The procedure itself can work for patients who suffer from a multitude of different ailments and even for other purposes as well. Some of these cases include:
- Cervical, thoracic, or lumbar nerve damage or issues.
- Reduction of inflammation in specific areas where pain is prominent.
- Pain associated with facet joints in the spine.
- Pain associated with nerves located in the face, forehead, eyelids, scalp, nose, upper jaw, shoulders, elbows, arms, hands, wrists, or abdomen.
- Diagnosing areas suspected to be the source of pain.
- Predicting if future permanent treatments; such as surgery, maybe needed via prognosis.
- Preventing subsequent pain following a procedure; such as phantom limb pain.
What About the Pain Relief?
The pain relief can be experienced more-or-less immediately after the procedure; with some patients reporting to see results from the nerve block procedure within 30 minutes. The degree of this relief also varies from patient to patient, where some might feel more significant changes than others.
Pain relief from this procedure is, unfortunately, not permanent. It is not unusual for some patients to never feel their pain again following the procedure. Patients usually report the pain returning after several months and then must undergo a follow-up procedure.
In cases where there is no relief of pain whatsoever, it does not mean that the procedure has failed per se, but that the targeted nerve was simply not the source of pain. In these rare scenarios, the procedure has eliminated a particular nerve as being the cause of pain and the procedure is undertaken again.
Is There Any Downtime?
Although a very short procedure which is noninvasive and nonsurgical, it is still recommended that patients take the remainder of the day off to rest for about 24 hours. They can return home immediately afterwards however as it is an out-patient procedure.
At Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation, our health experts value your quality of life. We provide the best, and latest Nerve Root Block services aimed to ensure you’re back to your best feeling. Contact us today to schedule your evaluation for any of our quality pain management services.