Cervical Selective Nerve Root Block - Neck
Your spinal cord is located within the protective spinal canal. The spinal cord extends from the brain and is a major part of your nervous system. The spinal cord does not fill the entire space in the spinal canal. Instead, the spinal cord is surrounded by the epidural space (cavity), which contains tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
Spinal nerves extending from the spinal cord travel out of openings or “tunnels” in the bones (foramina) to exchange nerve signals with your brain about specific parts of your body. The eight nerves at the cervical level control body functions and sensation for your head and neck, the muscle used for breathing (diaphragm), shoulder and upper arm muscles, and muscles of the wrists and hands.
A cervical selective nerve root block is an outpatient procedure. You will wear a gown for the procedure and be positioned lying down. Before you receive the selective nerve root block, the back of your neck will be sterilized and numbed with an anesthetic. You will receive relaxation medicine before your procedure.
Your doctor will use a live X-ray image (fluoroscopy) to carefully insert and guide the needle to the foraminal space “tunnel” of the suspected spinal nerve. A contrast dye is used to confirm the needle placement. Next, the medication is injected around the nerve, and the needle is removed.
You will be monitored for several minutes before you can return home. You should have another person drive you home because you received sedation medication. Your doctor will instruct you on how to relieve temporary pain at the injection site. You will be asked to keep track of your pain over the next several days.
If the cervical selective nerve root block relieved your pain, then the suspected nerve was the source of the problem. Your doctor may repeat the injections as a form of treatment or discuss surgery if necessary. If the cervical selective nerve root block did not relieve your pain, the process may be repeated at a different nerve to help determine the source of the problem.