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.

See Could That Shoulder Pain Really Stem From the Neck?

There are 8 nerves in your cervical spine, all of which branch off from your spinal cord. Watch: Cervical Selective Nerve Root Block Video

Our video walk-through can help introduce you to this common procedure:


Video highlights

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

See Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

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.

See Cervical Radiculopathy from a Herniated Cervical Disc

The procedure

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.

See Selective Nerve Root Block Injections

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.

See X-Ray of the Spine

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.

See Injections for Neck and Back Pain Relief

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.

See Epidural Steroid Injections

The good news with a cervical selective nerve root block procedure is that you can typically leave the hospital the same day.

Learn more:

Types of Neck Pain

Neck Exercises for Neck Pain