A spinal nerve block procedure involves the use of fluoroscopic or computed tomography imaging to guide the injection of anesthetic or anti-inflammatory medication as closely as possible to the affected nerve root, according to the Radiological Society of North America. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis.
The imaging technology used in a spinal nerve block procedure is painless but requires additional equipment and a specialized table in the procedure room, notes the Radiological Society of North America. A radiologist or anesthesiologist uses a syringe to administer the necessary medications, which take effect within 15 to 30 minutes. Some patients require hospital admission following the procedure, which should be arranged during scheduling.
Doctors use spinal nerve blocks to provide pain relief and allow the nerve to heal after continuous irritation or inflammation, reports the Radiological Society of North America. They also use the procedure to diagnose the source of pain by monitoring the patient's response to the treatment of specific nerves. Some patients require several rounds of the procedure because the body absorbs the medication after one to two weeks. Some patients do not experience symptom relief, which indicates that the targeted nerve did not receive the medication, the targeted nerve is not the source of symptoms, or other approaches to treatment are required.