What is a Selective Nerve Block?
A selective nerve block is an injection of a local anesthetic along a specific nerve root. Along the spine, there are several “holes” or “foramina” through which nerve roots emerge. If these foramina are partially closed from bulging disks, bone spurs, or misalignment of vertebrae, the nerve root can also be pinched. In most cases, this causes a shooting or radiating pain along that nerve root. In a selective nerve root block, a small needle is placed in the foramen alongside the nerve root and the medication is injected.
Selective nerve blocks can also be used to diagnose a back problem and determine if a nerve root is the source of pain.
When used to diagnose a condition, a smaller dose of medication is injected into the painful nerve(s). If pain is relieved, then the doctor can confirm a diagnosis and proceed with a treatment plan.