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Are Lumbar Nerve Root Blocks Effective for Pain?

Experiencing chronic pain, weakness, or numbness? Compression or inflammation in nerves in the lower back (lumbar spine) can cause minor to severe pain. Sometimes, it’s hard for physicians to determine the specific cause of the pain through diagnostic imaging alone, but lumbar nerve root blocks can help. This non-invasive procedure, also called a transforaminal epidural, provides effective pain relief, helping people improve their mobility and their overall quality of life. Read on to learn more about lumbar nerve root blocks, and how the procedure could be the answer to treating your chronic pain.

What Is a Lumbar Nerve Root Block?

A lumbar nerve root block is a non-invasive procedure that provides pain relief. An injection of local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroids to the ventral epidural space, around nerve roots that run along the lumbar section of the spine.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe a lumbar nerve root block for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. When doctors can’t determine the source of your pain from traditional methods like a CT scan or MRI, a lumbar nerve root block can provide critical information regarding the source of the pain, aiding in diagnosis. Lumbar nerve root blocks are also therapeutic, treating:

  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative changes in vertebrae
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Large disc herniation
  • Lateral disc herniation
  • Nerve compression
  • Pain in the legs and/or back
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • And more

How Is a Lumbar Nerve Root Block Performed?

Lumbar nerve root blocks are typically simple procedures, performed on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, the patient lies on their stomach with their back facing up. The area around the injection site is cleaned and numbed.

Before the injection is administered, the doctor uses a live x-ray to guide the needle to the nerve root using the most efficient pathway. A thin needle inserts contrast dye behind the nerve root to ensure medication flows exactly where it’s needed. Then—depending on the procedure—an anesthetic, steroid, or a combination of the two is injected into the affected nerve.

What Is Recovery Like After a Lumbar Nerve Root Block?

A lumbar nerve root block is a simple procedure, and patients can return home and go about their normal activities the following day. Patients should plan to rest the remainder of the day after the procedure, and there may be some soreness around the injection site. Once the numbness from the initial anesthetic wears off, patients may feel some of the pain return. It can take a few days to a couple of weeks for the medication to take effect and provide effective pain relief, which can last from weeks to months.

Get Relief From Chronic Pain Today

If you’re living with chronic pain, non-invasive solutions like a lumbar nerve root block can improve your symptoms and restore your quality of life. Want to learn more about how a lumbar nerve root block can provide quick, effective pain relief? The medical team at Impact Medical Group of Lutz is ready to answer all your questions! Call us today at (813) 536-0373 to schedule your free consultation.