What are selective nerve root blocks/transforaminal epidurals? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nev

These types of injections can be used in the neck, mid and upper back, and lumbar and lower regions of the back.  Nerve roots are at the base of the spinal cord and help with movement of the arms chest, and legs and oftentimes these roots become inflamed or painful.  Selective nerve root blocks or transforaminal epidurals are often used to treat pain by placing a numbing solution over the root of the nerve.  This also gives the doctor a better way to diagnose the pain.  For example, if the patient experiences relief of pain after the numbing solution is injected, the nerve root is usually the reason for pain.  If there is no relief, the nerve is likely not the reason for pain and the doctor will continue to work to diagnose the exact source of pain.  This may include using nerve blocks in other areas to pinpoint what the problem is and what the best treatment plan is.

During the procedure, patients are placed on an x-ray table and the patient is positioned where the doctor can best see the nerve area in question.  The area will be cleaned with alcohol and a numbing solution is placed on a small portion of the skin.  Then, the doctor will inject a small needle near the nerve in question (with help from an x-ray machine) and an anti-inflammatory steroid is injected.   The patient will then be asked to move around and imitate regular movements and the doctor will diagnose the problem, if able.

For more information on this procedure, contact Dr. Cash at www.disclv.com.

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