A selective nerve root injection (or selective nerve root block) is a carefully-placed injection of the pain and inflammation-relieving steroid (cortisone) into the area around a painful nerve root. In order to guide the injection to the site of the nerve root, X-ray imaging is used on the patient’s back during the procedure. Because the treatment is non-surgical, the entire process generally takes less than an hour and can be done on a convenient outpatient basis.

A selective nerve root injection may be recommended for pain due to nerve compression from conditions like:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Pinched nerves

In addition to providing pain relief to the patient, a selective nerve root injection also helps to confirm whether a given nerve root is the source of the pain. If the injection is successful in relieving pain, it is then clear that the suspected nerve is indeed the culprit. Occasionally, if the primary intent of the procedure is simply to use it as a diagnostic test, the injection will contain only a local anesthetic (weaker than the cortisone and not effective in treating inflammation) to determine whether the nerve root in question is the problem.

There are some risks associated with overexposure to strong steroids in a given period of time, so it is important to talk to your doctor about appropriate timing and spacing of injections if you plan to repeat the procedure. If used sparingly and properly with injections spread out over time, however, the use of cortisone injections for pain relief is considered quite medically safe.

If you are experiencing persistent back or neck pain from a spinal condition and would like to discuss the possibility of being treated with a selective nerve root injection, contact our Frisco, TX office to set up an appointment at your earliest convenience.