Selective nerve root block (SNRB) overview

Selective nerve root block (SNRB) is an injection procedure used to either temporarily reduce or diagnose neck or back pain. A SNRB test uses targeted injections of a numbing agent and a steroidal anti-inflammatory to cut off pain signals traveling from a particular nerve root to the brain and determine if relief is possible prior to the patient committing to surgery.

Diagnostic SNRB uses a lidocaine to numb the nerves and produce temporary pain relief. As a result, this confirms a nerve root is the source of pain or other symptoms, such as tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. Read on to learn about the conditions that SNRB can treat and when surgery becomes an option.

Conditions treated or diagnosed by SNRB

Neck or back pain can result from many spinal conditions that affect the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) or lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine. The spinal 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, are also 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 like:

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

When a selective nerve root block is not enough

Since the effects of a corticosteroid injection wear off over time, many patients seek longer-lasting relief. Laser Spine Institute offers a wide variety of minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to address symptoms associated with many degenerative spine conditions. Contact our dedicated team today to learn more about our safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^

Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures and help you reclaim your life from chronic pain and discomfort.