Selective Nerve Root Block / Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection

This is a variation on the traditional midline epidural steroid injection that precisely targets specific nerve roots. Current medical evidence suggests that this type of injection may provide better and longer term pain relief of radicular pain symptoms in the neck and low back. This type of injection can also be used to help your physician plan a surgical procedure.

The term “radicular pain” refers to pain that is caused by an irritated nerve root (radiculitis) or compression of a nerve root often associated with leg or arm weakness (radiculopathy). Radicular pain can start in the neck and radiates into the arm or arms. Similarly, it can start in the low back and radiate into one or both legs.

Conditions that are commonly treated with epidurals include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, sciatica, radiculitis, radiculopathy, failed back surgery syndrome, and spondylolysis.

When conservative treatments have failed, epidural steroid injections can rapidly relieve your symptoms and allow you return to work and previous activities.

The procedure involves injecting a combination of 3 medications (local anesthetic, sterile saline, and steroid) into the epidural space where the irritated nerve roots are located. The local anesthetic (“numbing medicine”) works to break the cycle of pain/spasm and transmission of pain signals within the spinal column. The steroid stabilizes the irritated nerves and decreases inflammation. Once injected, the medications will spread to multiple levels of the spine.

The quality and duration of pain relief varies from person to person and is dependent on the severity of the spine pathology, baseline activity level and overall health of the person. Some have short term relief for days or weeks while others last for years. Your response to epidural injections will help you and your physician plan for future treatment options.

The procedure is performed in our in-office xray suite and typically takes less than 15 minutes. More detailed information will be provided to you if your doctor recommends this treatment. That information will including risks vs. benefits, potential side effects, and post-procedure instructions.

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