Nerve root Injections

Nerve root injection is an injection of local anaesthetic (numbing medicine) and steroid given close to a nerve as it leaves the spine. The injection is given under X-ray guidance using a device called a nerve stimulator that identifies the nerve root accurately and helps avoid damaging it. The injection is given into the area where the nerve exits the spinal column. It is definitely not a cure for the cause of pain but can reduce the level of pain.

Indications for Nerve root injections

Injection in the nerve root gives relief from pain and inflammation and is done in following indications:

  • Pain in the arm or leg that follows the path of a single nerve like sciatica

  • Nerve root is irritated by a surrounding structure

  • Diagnostic to determine the source of pain

  • Therapeutic to relieve pain

  • To identify whether or not surgery might be helpful in relieving the pain

  • To identify the level of surgery that might be most helpful

Contraindications for Nerve root injections

The injection cannot be given to patients with following conditions:

  • Active infection

  • Flu, cold or fever

  • Hypertension

  • Patient on blood thinners

How does this injection work

The injection is generally a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid that will numb the nerve and reduce inflammation around the nerve root. Although the benefits are temporary but injection can be repeated over a short period of time. Side effects like raised blood pressure/sugar, weight gain etc. may occur if steroids are given repeatedly for extended period of time.