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Effectiveness of Selective Nerve Root Block?

stargazer81sstargazer81 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi Everyone, I was in a car accident in June and have two badly herniated discs in my back (the last 2 bottom ones). One is pressing on my spinal canal and hitting a nerve. I also have 2 herniations in my neck, but they are not as bad. I experience horrible nerve pain down my legs along with lower back pain.

I have gone through one set of injections called a "Selective Nerve Root Block" with minimal success. They are saying most people go through 3 rounds.

Is this procedure effective or is it a temporary solution? Hoping to hear from people who have had the same procedure.

I currently take percocet 5/325, lyrica and skelaxin and would like to be off them and pain free!


  • This is what my MRI Report says:

    Disc desiccation is present at the L4-5 level with an associated 1.3 x 0.4cm central posterior extruded disc herniation causing mass effect on the ventral thecal sac and mild spinal canal stenosis. The herniated disc also comes in contact with the L5 nerve roots in the lateral recesses bilaterally. The disc material extends approximately 0.2cm below the level of the disc space. There is degeneration of the articular facets with a .4cm cyst formed adjacent to the anterior aspect of the left apophyseal joint, extending into the ligamentum flavum.

    Disc desiccation is also present at the L5-S1 level with an associated 1.4x.3cm central posterior protruded disc herniation and associated annular tear. There is mild mass effect on the ventral thecal sac.
  • Welcome to SH! :)

    I generally just say I've had 2 ESI's but more properly, I had one ESI followed by one selective nerve root block at the same level (C7). Neither one did anything--nothing whatsoever.

    My understanding is that the ESI can give temporary or permanent relief, depending on the person and the cause of the nerve pain. I think the selective nerve root block is more of a diagnostic tool to pinpoint the source of the nerve pain, but it may have long-term benefits, I don't know. In my case, it took EMG testing to confirm the C7 nerve root impingement which was causing my pain.

    I was on Lyrica for a few weeks but was switched to oxycodone when I couldn't tolerate Lyrica's side effects. I ended up having cervical posterior foraminotomy to relieve pressure on the nerve root and it worked beautifully.

    Wishing you success in getting relief from your pain. It sounds like you're in misery!

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Sometimes the injections work well enough that the patient is able to go to PT and begin doing exercises to build up core strength and strength in the back muscles. The injections are often given as a set of three, but if you have no relief after two, there is usually no point in having a third.

    I have known people who had little effect with one, slightly more with two and the third one was the charm. That has never been my own experience, however!

    Are you seeing a spinal specialist for treatment? Did the doctor say your problems were caused by the car accident?

    If you look down the board a bit further, under Treatment, there is a whole section devoted to Spinal Injections. You can read other people's experiences there.

    Good luck.
  • My experience with this is that it is a temporary relief if you get any at all. But it can help to diagnose exactly where the pain is coming from. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    There are certain conditions that a doctor will use a selective nerve root block for as a therapeutic procedure, but not many.

    Generally, the nerve root block is a diagnostic injection procedure where the doc tries to find the nerves that are causing the pain. If they hit the right nerve(s) with this procedure, then your pain should be relieved for 4 to 6 hours until the numbing agent that they injected wears off. Then you'd be a possible candidate for a Radiofrequency Ablasion (RFA) where they go in and burn those same nerves to kill them and hopefully relieve your pain for an extended period of time, possibly up to 18 months.

    Here's a link to information about selective nerve root blocks.


    I've had ESIs, facet joint injections, and a nerve root block - 6 weeks of reduced pain with the ESI and facet joint injection, and not much relief with the root block.

    Good luck to you and again, welcome to Spine-Health.
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