If you have pain that radiates through your limbs, a root block goes straight to the source of the problem, where the nerve begins. The team of interventional pain management specialists helps patients find relief from debilitating pain that can have a major quality-of-life impact.
What Conditions Can a Root Block Help?
The core of your nervous system runs through your spine and branches off along the way, sending peripheral nerves throughout your body. When there’s a problem close to home or the root you may feel the pain, numbness, and tingling radiate through your peripheral nerves, affecting your limbs.
The most common problems stem from nerve compression or irritation in your lumbar (lower back), cervical spine, or neck. Often, the discs that cushion your vertebrae herniate, or bulge, and affect the nerve roots in the area. This, in turn, sends pain sensations along the nerve pathways down through your shoulders and arms, in the case of the cervical spine, and your buttocks and legs, in the case of your lumbar spine.
If you’re feeling numbness or tingling, this means that the compression is preventing or weakening the signals that travel along your peripheral nerves.
How Does the Root Block Work?
A root block often serves two purposes:
- Diagnostic: Your doctor typically uses a root block to diagnose the source of your pain. Through diagnostic imaging, your doctor pinpoints the general area of the problem, but sometimes the root responsible for your pain and numbness is hidden. By performing a root block that lasts 24 hours, your doctor is able to isolate the correct nerve for treatment.
- Treatment: Once your doctor identifies the nerve responsible for your discomfort, they return and block that nerve root from sending out pain signals.
How is a Root Block Done?
Whether diagnostic or treatment, your doctor uses X-ray imaging to guide a needle into your nerve root. Once they’re satisfied, they have the right target, your doctor injects a combination of a local anesthetic for the pain and a steroid to reduce the inflammation in the area.
Your doctor performs a root block on an outpatient basis, which means you’re free to go home afterward.
How Long Does the Root Block Last?
The answer to this varies from one person to the next. Some patients undergo a root block once a year, while others come in three times a year. The effects of the anesthetic wear off quickly, but the steroid provides relief for more extended periods.
Precision Pain Care and Rehabilitation has two convenient locations in Richmond Hill – Queens and New Hyde Park – Long Island. Call the Queens office at (718) 215-1888, or (516) 419-4480 for the Long Island office, to arrange an appointment with our Interventional Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Chacko.