Spinal Nerve Blocks
Back pain may be caused by injuries or conditions affecting the nerves in your spine. In some cases, this kind of pain can be treated with physical therapy or medication. In other cases, you may need an interventional nerve block procedure.
Nerve blocks are minimally invasive injections directly into the spine. These injections deliver anesthetic to the nerves in the painful area. This interrupts the pain signals these nerves send to your brain, which helps reduce pain and improve your range of motion.
Types of nerve blocksYour spine contains many different nerves, so there are different types of nerve blocks for each. These include:
- Medial branch nerve blocks — The vertebrae in your spine are connected by facet joints, which allow you to bend and twist your spine. Each facet joint contains medial branch nerves that allow it to communicate with the rest of your body. When a condition causes wear and tear in the facet joint, interrupting the pain signal from the medial branch nerves can be an effective treatment.
- Root nerve blocks — Nerves in your spine exit the spinal cord at many points to enter the arms and legs. These nerves are what allows these body parts to communicate with your brain. Conditions like herniated discs or degenerative disc disease (DDD) can put pressure on the roots of these nerves, which is often painful. A root nerve block can be used to block the pain signals from these nerve roots.
- Sympathetic nerve blocks — The sympathetic nerves run along the front side of your spine. These are the parts of the nervous system that control passive body functions like heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. An injury or condition can affect these nerves, which causes pain. A sympathetic block can interrupt the pain signals stemming from the area where pressure is affecting the nerve.
Are nerve blocks safe?Our spine specialists at Florida Spine and Joint are highly trained and experienced and are careful to minimize risks. Complications during nerve block procedures are rare, but may include:
- Nerve damage
- Nerve damage
- Inaccurate injection