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selective nerve root blocks

virginiapvvirginiap Posts: 508
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi Spineys!

Sorry I've been off forum for a while. I've been self absorbed with my rough and difficult recovery from my ALIF, its now been 6 months! My recovery has been riddled with complications thank God mostly minor, but so many back to back. I've barely had time to recoup! My body & spirit have been weakened to levels I never imagined existed.
my fusion did not "FIX ME" my NS dropped my case @ 4.5 months. By the grace of God I found another surgeon to follow my case.
Over the past 2 months I've underwent 3 epidurals, 2 caduals and 1 ESI, with min relief, these were administered by my PM doc. My new NS has scheduled me for SNRB at fusion level site L4/5 bilaterally. I had myelogram done which shows significant bone spurring. Ns says SNRB will be both diagnostic & theraputic. We are hoping to avoid decompression surgery to correct this. (Obviously the anterior approach did NOT address the osteophytes in the back of my spine, which has left me with residual leg & back pain.)
My question to you all, have any of you had any relief from these types of blocks? I'm confused from what I've researched these only provide a few hours of relief. I hope someone may have had experience good or bad that they can share.
I desperately want to return to work and I'm banking on this procedure to provide me enough relief to be able to SIT at my office job. My employer has been gracious anticipate my return. I have serious issues sitting! Due to sciatica.
On another note I've know developed serious c spine issues, which I will post in another thread.
Your comments, suggestions and advice is much appreciated.
God's bless you all and I wish you all pain free days & restful nights.
thank you


  • I have had plenty of selective nerve root blocks. I have never heard of them only lasting a few hours. That sounds like the numbing medications that is working is all. My last block lasted a month. I had multiple issues going on and it was to see if it would get the new issues. So the block returned me to my prior pain levels. Did they ask you to keep a journal? If you get no relief from the block more than likely they have not found the pain generators.
  • For your reply!
    Its nice to hear from you!
    So it sounds like, at least from your experience perhaps I am being overly optimistic on the SNRB.
    THE NS seems pretty confidential that these nerves are are the pain generators causing all my left leg pain, based on ct & myelogram results. ....
    Have you had the diagnostic & theraputic type blocks?
    I'm so sick of getting all these shots and I had so many befor the surgery and now going through the four after. It's like starting from scratch again. Very frustrating.
    I hope you are well and again it was very very nice to hear from you.
  • I was not asked to keep any type of journal. Or at least not prior to having the blocks which will take place next Wednesday.
  • I hope that you get the relief that you are looking for. I had 2 SNRB and they did not last long at all. I had a 2 level ACDF which I am not at the 3 month recovery mark. Keeping a journal is my best advice. Symptoms, meds taken, how they helped or didn't. Questions, concerns and any thoughts you may have. I have kept a journal that also includes all of the answers from my OSS. This way I can look back and see what happened or what the answers were. I found with pain and meds, my memory was failing me. Good luck. :)
  • Thanks FF! I journal my pain meds daily and have so for over a year. You are so right, its hard to remember everything when your in pain & on meds.
    I am disappointed in reading the few posts on SNRB. I was under the impression from NS that long term relief is possible as he was doing both diagnostic & theraputic!
    I suppose its just another chapter in my spine saga. NS said if this works I can avoid decompression surgery. I'll have to pray long & hard that between God & NS, this works for me, stranger things have happen- right!

    Take care and thanks for sharing!
  • Hi there, I've got my SNRB tomorrow. I'm abit nervous but i'm sure i'll survive right! I've been on at the pain medicine specialist for more information about my options or what this injection does and haven't had much luck so far. Just by reading this, i really hope it doesn't just last one month.

    I'm hopeless at remembering things at the moment, so i'm taking my fiancé along tomorrow so he can get all the answers i need. The specialist said he'd talk to the NS about this at my request and will talk to me about it tomorrow. I've asked if there is anything more permanent that can be done. He said in his letter that it is unlikely they'll offer me surgery, but ultimately it may become the only option.
    ....so what does that mean??? That it is possible an operation will fix it, but they're trying the un-obtrusive method or cheapest first? and how bad do i have to be for it to be fixed properly?!

    I'm hanging by a thread trying to stay working full time. I can't sit for long at all and am working laying down at home. But i'm getting in trouble at work for bodging things up and i'm fed up with being rubbish at everything I'm trying really hard to do!

    Sorry....i should have found a rant thread for the rest of that!

    Anyway...i'll let you know how i go tomorrow.
    Good luck virginiap for wednesday! :-)
  • Glad we connected I had replied to your earlier post too.
    Good luck tomorrow and yes I hope you obtain long tern relief as do I.

    I know when you are in SO MUCH PAIN as you are now (and like me), surgery seems like the cure all! Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's not.

    I had a fusion L4/5 on August 24, 2010 and I have not recovered yet
    I had back issues for more then 6 years which I treated with all the conservative measures PT, epidural, trigger point, massage, accupunture, chiro and of course pain meds you name it I tried it. I am relatively young 42 and slender. When I was not having an attack I would exercise and swim. My case warranted surgery, I consulted 4 NS. So I finally bit the bullet and had an anterior approach fusion as I was told it was a quicker recovery vs posterior and perhaps for some that's the case, not for me. Prior to surgery I was on dreadful pain BUT I functioned, I worked I socialized I was out there.

    Now, this MY experience, I am sharing with you. Any NS. worth the paper his degree is printed on will exhaust conservative treatment prior to surgery. Its in his & your best interest.

    If my block doesn't work I am facing another surgery unfortunately a decompression surgery from the back at the same level as my fusion, that's tgw last thing I want

    Don't get me wrong MANY people have spine surgery and wake up and are fine! Of course there is always a recovery process. I am not intending to scare you about surgery but rather share what I went through.

    Its good you are bringing your boyfriend for support & to help take notes.

    Good luck tomorrow & we HAVE to compare notes and assist each other through this process.

    No time to spell check, running late for doc appt sorry for any typos.

  • Hi virginiap, yes I saw, thanks for replying to my post.

    I guess it just solved it when i was 16. I had a burst prolapsed disc so they did a micro discectomy on me (L5/S1). I also had 2 degenerate discs above and below that one but they weren't troubling me at the time. This is one of those discs now that has torn and is leaking around the sciatic nerve.

    I'm a tall person though 6'2". I'm bound to have trouble, but i've been in pain half my life and I'm sick of it, as you well know.

    I've never looked at it from that point of view before, and thank you for highlighting it. I don't just want to operated on for the sake of it, and then it not work. I guess I was just trying to jump the gun abit. Its been really bad like this now for a year and i'm still trying to work and am finding it exhausting. I also want to have a family soon as I'm 33. I won't be able to if I'm on so many opiate based pain killers. I've tried most things aswell, physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, tens machine, and obviously pain management with epilepsy tablets and pain killers.

    I really hope you recover from the surgery soon, and that your injection helps you. It sounds like you really have been through the mill. Good luck on Wednesday. x
  • It's sounds as if you too have had much suffering and I hope your SNRB provide relief and/or determine your need to proceed to the surgical level. Like I said many people have great results from surgery. You wont find them here, as they are fortunate to recover and move on with a normal life. From time to time they pop in and give us hope and that is always refreshing!
    On the forum I'm told I'm still early in recovery process, 6 months, but in life people are like "what???? Your still not better???"
    People don't get it unless they have lived it.
    let me know how it goes for you Tuesday.
    I have a 6:45am appointment Wednesday, hate does early morning procedures.

  • I understand how difficult it is to bit the bullet and decide on surgery. I agree that all conservative measures should be tired first as long as there will be no permanent damage done by waiting. I am 49 and first went to an OSS about 5-6 years ago for cervical and back issues. I didn't realize how bad my neck was and the pain that radiated into my skull, face, neck shoulders and back. Thankfully the OSS is not knife happy and told me all of the conservative measures, but also told me at some point I would probably need surgery. He said that I would know when I was truly ready. It took my until this past December to know that I was ready. I had a 2 level ACDF. I am much better now than prior to surgery, but still am not back to myself. It could take a year or more to bring back my ROM, strength and full ability since I waited so long. Feel free to ask any questions. There are many success stories, but you are right most of them get back to their life and forget about this site. Good luck to all of you with your journey. :)
  • Just a quick update. Blocks were done yesterday when I woke up in recovery I was in agony, not my back but my butt & back of legs as if I was kicked by a horse!
    Got some diladid in iv and calmed it down a bit. Slept most of the day away. Feeling okay today, not the instant fix I'd hoped for, nurse said give it 72 hours.
    NS opted NOT to do the diagnostic portion as he felt it unnecessary and only did theraputic injection.
    I've had to increase my oxy to keep pain at bay.
    hoping to wake up tomorrow less symptomatic!
    Can anyone share results they've had from lumbar selective nerve root blog k. When did it kick in, did it work, how long it lasted?
    Thank you.
    Wishing all pain free days!
  • I hope that your SNRB is helping as it has been a few days. I had 2 cervical SRRB in the fall. They had me awake for the diagnostic and therapeutic injections. I felts that it was the most intense pain I had felt. It helped for a short period of time, but not lasting for me. Everyone is different. I ended up h ave a 2 level ACDF in December. Still on the mend, but a m million times better. I am not living on pain killers. Hope you get positive results.
  • How is the pain from your injections now?

    Mine was on Tuesday at 2.30pm. I finally got to speak to the Pain Management specialist about my situation. He says its to test his theory that the tear in my disc is leaking and causing the problems because we have the MRI showing the tear and the Nerve conduction study showing evidence it's my sciatic nerve. So...if this works, it is the Disc tear causing it. If it doesn't work, more MRI's and tests on the Pelvis apparently. If it is the disc tear, its not something they can operate on apparently. Its still in the spine. He told me surgeons can only operate on something outside the spine, like when my disc prolapsed and burst when i was 16.

    So anyway, they injected the dye into my back and moved the x-ray machine around for the needle to go in a little bit each time. I was awake the whole time, thats the way they do it in the Uk. I think you had more all at once though didn't you? It was really awful pain but i got through it and had the next two days off working from home.

    Yep....no-one understands that its not fixed already! I've been told it could take up to 3 weeks to work, if at all! Fingers crossed!
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