A nerve block is an anti-inflammatory injection targeted toward a certain nerve or group of nerves to treat pain. The purpose of the injection is to “turn off” a pain signal coming from a specific location in your body or to decrease inflammation in that area. Image guidance may be used to help the doctor place the needle in the right location so that you can receive maximum benefit from the injection.
Preparing for your exam
Typically, no advance preparation is required for a nerve root block exam; however, some exams require that you wear a gown during the procedure. You will probably be asked to use the bathroom before the procedure begins.
What to expect during a nerve root block exam
Nerve blocks usually take only minutes to administer. The injection will be administered with a syringe much like one that would be used for a routine vaccination.
Find out what documents to bring
You will be positioned on a table or other surface to gain access to the area that will be injected. The doctor will then identify the spot the needle needs to be placed using image guidance. He or she will clean the area with antiseptic solution and then the needle will be inserted at a specific depth to deliver the medication as close to the problematic nerve(s) as possible.
After the injection, you will probably experience a sensation of pain relief in the area injected. You will be allowed to rest for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the medication to take effect. The nurse will also ensure that you don’t have any unexpected side effects and then you are free to leave.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor within 24 hours. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.