Resolving a single structure within the spine as the source of pain can prove to be a diagnostic challenge due to the complexity and complication of the structures involved in the spinal column. Additionally, discrete anatomical structures can clinically present with related symptom patterns and no physical examination finding can be specifically ascribed to any one structure. To further complicate this dilemma, multiple structural abnormalities noted on imaging studies are frequently found to be painless.
Selective nerve root blocks are based on the assumption that delivering a small amount of medication to a specific target can precisely point out the source of pain and provide information that could affect or predict their surgical outcome. At the Pain Management Institute, we offer cervical nerve root blocks under fluoroscopy guidance. Dr. Zaki Anwar is very experienced in these procedures and has a very meticulous approach and safety record.
When a nerve root becomes condensed and swollen, it can cause back and/or leg pain. Occasionally, an imaging study (e.g. MRI) may not clearly illustrate which nerve is causing the pain, therefore selective nerve root block injection is performed to assist in separating the source of pain. Adding more to its diagnostic function, this type of injection for pain management can also be used as a treatment for a far lateral disc herniation (a disc that ruptures outside the spinal canal).
The rate of success differs depending on the primary diagnosis and whether or not the injections are being used primarily for diagnosis. Those who are facing the symptoms of herniated disc, sciatica or swelling or irritation are the appropriate candidates for selective nerve root block. The following patients should not undergo this treatment:
- If you have an allergy of any medication which is needed to be injected
- If you use medication for blood thinning for instance (Coumadin injectable Heparin)
- If you have an infection currently you are suffering from
During a Selective Nerve Root Block, your doctor will target exact condensed or irritated nerves in your neck, upper back, or lower back, injecting an anesthetic, anti-inflammatory corticosteroid or a mixture of these two medications into the space immediately surrounding the nerve or nerves.