How Long Do Nerve Root Block Injections Last?
While pain is a normal part of life, chronic pain isn’t. Whether you’re suffering from arthritis, a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or other chronic conditions, you don’t have to tough it out and live with the pain—or resort to habit-forming prescription painkillers. A nerve root block injection is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that provides near-instant pain relief for a variety of conditions. Read on to learn what’s involved in a nerve root block procedure, and how long you can expect the pain relief to last.
What Is a Nerve Root Block Injection?
A nerve root block injection is a simple procedure that’s designed to both relieve pain and help your body heal. They work by numbing any nerves that are causing your discomfort, relieving your pain right at its source.
Nerve root block injections target compressed spinal nerve roots. When these roots are irritated or inflamed, they often cause severe back pain that can radiate to your lower or upper extremities since nerves connect your entire body.
Even if you can point to the general area where you’re feeling pain, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact source—that’s where nerve root blocks can help. Your medical team can use a nerve root block to isolate the problematic nerve root and send medication directly to it, immediately “turning off” the pain. Nerve root blocks are ideal for treating a wide range of pain disorders including:
- Cancer-related pain
- Chronic regional pain syndrome
- Headaches, including migraines
- Lower back pain
- Nerve damage or compression from conditions like herniated discs and spinal stenosis
- Pain after surgery
What to Expect During a Nerve Root Block Procedure
A nerve root block is a minimally invasive procedure that takes only 30 minutes to one hour to perform. Your medical team will clean the skin and numb the affected area with a local anesthetic. Using a fluoroscopic X-ray, your doctor will insert a needle into position within your spine, injecting a contrast dye to ensure the correct nerve root is being targeted.
Once the needle is in the correct spot, your doctor administers the nerve root block between the targeted nerve root and the vertebrae, injecting local anesthetic to the area and a steroid like dexamethasone. Typically, you can resume normal activities the day after the procedure.
How Long Does Pain Relief From a Nerve Root Block Injection Last?
While results vary from person to person, nerve root block injections typically provide pain relief for one to two weeks. Depending on the source of your pain, your healthcare provider may recommend a series of nerve root block injections to deliver long-term relief while the nerve heals.
In some severe cases, you may be recommended an RFA (radiofrequency ablation) procedure as a permanent solution that damages or destroys problematic nerve endings. By reducing chronic nerve irritation, nerve root blocks can be a useful tool to help nerves heal.
Are Nerve Root Block Injections Right for You?
If you’re living with chronic pain, nerve root blocks can address your symptoms right at the source. Want to learn more about how this simple, minimally invasive procedure can improve your quality of life? Reach out to the medical team at Impact Medical Group of Sarasota today. Call us at (941) 222-1157 to schedule your free consultation!