What Can Patients Expect From a Nerve Root Block?
Patients normally lie under an X-ray in a fluoroscopy suite in a prone position, and the nerve root block is injected into the area where the nerve exits the spinal column through the foramen (the space between vertebral bodies). A small bit of contrast dye is also inserted to confirm proper needle placement. If the pain goes away, it’s assumed that the right nerve has been identified.
Nerve root blocks are performed in an outpatient setting and usually take less than 15 minutes to complete. A pain management specialist will most likely advise patients to take it easy for the remainder of the day, but normal activities can usually be resumed the next day.
After the procedure, patients should expect to feel numbness that follows the path of the nerve that was blocked. Most patients report that the stinging and burning of the numbing medicine is the primary cause of discomfort.
Patients may also experience certain short-term side effects, including temporary weakness, increased pain at the injection site lasting for a few days, a spike in blood sugar for diabetics due to the steroid medication.