A nerve root block is used for patients who suffer from pain from a “pinched nerve”, also known as radicular pain. This may involve the arms, neck, body and legs. Radicular pain usually involves the legs where it is commonly known as sciatica.

This treatment usually stops pain stemming from an

inflamed nerve reducing inflammation in the area. A CT (Computed Tomography) scan will be used to guide the procedure.


There is no specific preparation required.

Aspirin and Warfarin tablets for 5 days, Plavix tablet for 7 days & Iscover tablet for 8 days must be stopped prior to the procedure

We strongly recommend that you bring a responsible person to drive you home afterwards.


You will be asked to wear a gown with the selected area of the spine exposed. Spinal injection procedures are completed with you lying face down in a CT scanner. We will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.

A series of planning images are performed, with the area of needle entry planned on the computer terminal and then marked on your skin. The radiologist will then clean your skin with an antiseptic wash and inject local anaesthetic into the injection site. This results in a stinging sensation which is temporary until the skin becomes numb, usually taking 10-30 seconds.

A fine needle is then passed through the skin and tissues, constantly manipulated under CT guidance until it contacts the intended nerve. When gentle needle contact is made with the nerve you will experience a brief pain that many patients describe as an “electrical, nerve-like shooting” pain. This pain will usually be in the same area of the body and/or character as the pain that you have come in to have treated.


•           Infection: most of these are minor (1-2%), however can be serious (<0.1%) requiring hospital admission, intravenous antibiotics and surgery.

•           Bleeding: this is fortunately also rare and common in patients with bleeding disorders and on “blood thinning” medication.

•           Dural puncture: this is when the needle penetrates into the sac encasing the nerves within the spinal canal, causing leakage of fluid contained within the sac, known as CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). The risk of this procedure is approximately 1% and is treated with flat bed rest for four hours.

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