Selective Nerve Root Block (SNRB)

Selective nerve root block (SNRB) is an injection procedure used either to reduce or diagnose neck or back pain. Therapeutic SNRB uses targeted injections of a numbing agent and a steroidal anti-inflammatory in an effort to cut off pain signals traveling from a particular nerve root to the brain. Diagnostic SNRB uses a numbing agent, usually lidocaine, to produce temporary pain relief – thereby confirming a particular nerve root is the source of pain or other symptoms, such as tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.

Conditions treated or diagnosed by SNRB

Neck or back pain can result from a number of spinal conditions that affect the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle and upper back) or lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine. The intervertebral discs, which are spongy cushions between bony vertebrae, are subject to gradual degeneration as people age. Other components of the spinal anatomy, including the facet joints, also are vulnerable to degenerative spine conditions. An injection procedure such as SNRB usually is attempted only after other conservative treatment methods, such as physical therapy and oral pain medication, have proven ineffective for conditions such as:

  • Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Bone spurs – bony growths that are the body’s response to diminished skeletal stability
  • Herniated disc – extrusion of nucleus material through a tear in the outer wall of an intervertebral disc
  • Bulging disc – loss of structural integrity of a disc’s outer wall, forcing the wall out of its normal boundary
  • Arthritis of the spine – degeneration of cartilage associated with spinal joints
  • Spondylolisthesis – slippage of one vertebra over another

When a selective nerve root block is not enough

Because the effects of a corticosteroid injection wear off over time, many patients seek more effective and longer-lasting relief. Laser Spine Institute offers an array of minimally invasive procedures to address symptoms associated with many degenerative spine conditions. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more and to receive a review of your MRI or CT scan.