A pinched nerve in your neck (cervical spine) may result in neck, shoulder, and/or arm pain. In response, your doctor may advise you to get a cervical nerve root block injection to help locate the nerve that is pinched, and also to relieve your pain.
Our video walk-through can help introduce you to this common procedure:
When one or more of your nerves is irritated, you may feel pain in your neck that radiates down through your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers (pictured above). A cervical selective nerve root block can help your doctor locate the nerve that is causing your pain.
To begin a cervical selective nerve root block procedure, your physician may give you a sedative. He or she will then have you 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 (pictured above), your doctor will inject a contrast dye at or near the nerve that is suspected of being the cause of your pain.
When your doctor is satisfied that the needle is in the correct position, she or he will inject both lidocaine, a type of anesthetic, as well as a steroid, such as cortisone, into the nerve root.
Outcomes from a cervical selective nerve root block procedure
If the injection described above helps with your pain, then you and your doctor can likely conclude that the correct nerve has been identified.
Although the effects of the anesthetic wear off relatively quickly, the effects of the steroid shot typically last for a longer period of time. This in turn can help reduce inflammation (and thereby relieve your pain), and also promote the healing of the irritated nerve.
The good news with a cervical selective nerve root block procedure is that you can typically leave the hospital the same day.