How Cervical Selective Nerve Root Blocks Can Ease Neck Pain

A pinched nerve or nerves in your neck (cervical spine) may result in neck pain, shoulder, pain, and/or arm pain. Your doctor may advise you to get a cervical nerve root block injection, first to help locate the nerve that is being pinched, and secondarily to relieve the pain.

We recently added a Cervical Selective Nerve Root Block Video to our Spine-health Video Library to help you understand how this procedure works.

Video highlights

A pinched nerve may be caused by a cervical herniated disc, a cervical degenerated disc, or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).

See Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

The disc dysfunction irritates the nerves, causing pain in your neck that radiates down through your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. A cervical selective nerve root block can help your physician locate the nerve that is causing the pain.

See Cervical Radiculopathy from a Herniated Cervical Disc

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To get started with this procedure, your physician may first give you a sedative. He or she will then ask you to lie face down and will proceed to inject a local anesthetic into your skin over the painful area.

Next, with the help of X-ray guidance, your doctor will inject a contrast dye at or near the nerve that is suspected of causing the pain.

Once your doctor is satisfied that the needle is in the correct position, he or she will inject lidocaine, a type of anesthetic, and a steroid, such as cortisone, into the nerve root. If this injection helps the pain, then you and your doctor can conclude that the correct nerve has been identified.

Although the effects of the anesthetic will wear off relatively quickly, the effects of the steroid shot should last for a longer period of time, helping to reduce inflammation and promote healing of the irritated nerve.

See Epidural Steroid Injections

Finally, your physician will bandage the injection site and send you home the same day.

Learn more:

Injections for Back Pain Relief

Facet Joint Injection Procedure

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