The Southeastern Spine Institute

A Selective Nerve Root Block is a Pain Management procedure. During this treatment, your back doctor injects a local anesthetic and steroid medication directly into the area where the nerve root exits your spinal column.

The Pain Management doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) usually perform a nerve root block for a pain in your arm or leg that follows the path of a single nerve (e.g., sciatica). This treatment not only lessens pain, but it also fights inflammation.

Your physician may recommend this procedure for diagnostic and/or therapeutic reasons. Therapeutic injections provide long-term pain relief. It is a safe procedure you can repeat if your pain returns. A nerve root block provides enough relief from pain to allow you return to your normal life. Most patients require more than one injection.


The procedure normally takes 30 to 60 minutes. You must lie flat on your stomach on an X-ray table.

Before the procedure, your doctor cleans and numbs your skin where he will make the injection. He or she uses lidocaine, which is similar to the novocaine that dentists use.

Your doctor uses a fluoroscope, which provides live X-ray images, to guide the needle accurately. Once your doctor has the needle where it needs to be, he or she injects the steroid solution. Pain relief should come quickly.


For more information about nerve blocks and epidurals, refer to Southeastern Spine Institute’s Block Suite.

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