A selective nerve root block is an injection that is performed to determine if a specific spinal nerve root is the source of your pain and reduce inflammation around the nerve root thus decreasing or relieving the pain.

To treat back and/or leg pain that may be due to inflammation around a specific nerve root.  However, it will not correct the medical problems causing the inflammation but may improve the level of pain you are experiencing.  It is not unusual to need more than one injection to obtain long-term benefit.  These injections are usually done in a series of three, a month apart if needed.

Some risks, although remote include:  bleeding, infection, nerve injury, and allergic reaction to the medication(s).  Diabetics may have short-term elevation of blood sugars.  People prone to fluid retention may have increased fluid retention for 1-2 weeks.

You will be awake throughout the procedure.  During the injection, your pain will be increased temporarily while the doctors locate the nerve root. You may feel some pressure when the medication is injected.  You may get 4-6 hours of pain relief immediately after the injection due to the local anesthetic.  However, your pain will most likely return and you may have more pain than usual for 2-3 days.

The patient is given a local anesthetic (numbing medication).  The physician then locates, under fluoroscopy (low dose x-ray), a specific spinal nerve root.  A needle is introduced through the skin into the area next to the nerve root.  Medication is then injected into the area.  The medications given include an anesthetic and steroid.

Relief varies from one person to the next.  The only way to know is to have the injection performed.  The steroid may take several days to work and peaks in about 2 weeks.  It may be several weeks before you feel a change in your pain.  You may apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes every 2 hours to decrease local tenderness.   After the first day, you can perform activities as before and return to work.

You may NOT drive for the remainder of the day after your procedure.  No heat is to be used on the injection area for the remainder of the day.  No tub bath or soaking in water (pools/Jacuzzi, etc) for the remainder of the day.

If you experience severe back pain, new numbness or weakness of your legs, loss of control of your bladder or bowels, or have signs of infection (temperature greater than 99.9º , drainage, redness/heat at insertion site) – call IMMEDIATELY.


♦ Take all blood pressure pills & heart medications prior to the procedure with a sip of water at least 3 hours before your requested arrival time. Your vitals must be stable to have the procedure.

♦ Have a responsible person to take you home.

♦ Arrive at the requested procedure time.  Please do not be late or your procedure may be cancelled. 


♦ Do not take ANY of the following 5 days before your procedure:  Coumadin

♦ Do not take ANY of the following 7 days before your procedure:  Plavix

♦ Coumadin must be stopped prior to the injection. You must have a normal INR prior to the injection.  Do not stop the drug by yourself.

♦ Eat or drink 6 hours before the procedure.


  • You have an active infection, flu, cold, fever, or very high blood pressure.
  • You do not have a responsible driver to take you home, arrive late for your procedure, or unable to follow the medication / fluid restrictions.

Call the office at (513) 860-1039 for procedure related questions.