Nerve Root Blocks
The dorsal root ganglion is the area of a spinal nerve that connects the nerve to your spine. This area sends impulses from nerves to your spinal cord.
If you suffer back pain due to irritated spinal nerves your consultant may recommend a nerve root block. A dorsal root ganglion block is a type of nerve root block. This procedure slows or blocks impulses. Sometimes this procedure is done to get a more accurate location of existing pain.
What happens during a dorsal root ganglion block?
A dorsal root ganglion block takes about 20-30 minutes however you will need to allow several hours for recovery time.
You will need to put on a hospital gown. In the treatment area you may have a thin needle (cannula) placed in the back of your hand to allow staff to give you light sedation or fluids if needed.
We will help you get into the correct position (lying on your stomach). An antiseptic solution will be used to clean your back. This may feel very cold. A local anaesthetic will be inserted to numb the insertion area. Dye will also be injected so that the location of the needle can be clearly seen on an x-ray. Local anaesthetic and steroid will then be injected into your dorsal root ganglion to ease pain and reduce inflammation.
After dorsal root ganglion block
You will be taken to a recovery area where staff will monitor your blood pressure and recovery progress. You will need to lie quietly for about 1 hour. Be sure and let us assist you should you wish to sit up. Our staff will help you get out of bed to ensure you are steady on your feet.
You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to drive you home. Continue to take any pain medication as directed. It may take a few days before you begin to notice pain relief from your block.
As with any procedure there could be complications including:
- Pain and/or bruising at the site of the injection
- Allergic reaction to medications used
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Nerve damage
- Infection (rare).