Dorsal root ganglion block

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Selective nerve root block injection for back pain

If you suffer from chronic back pain, a spinal injection can offer relief by slowing or blocking painful nerve impulses

About

The dorsal root ganglion is a bundle of sensory nerve cells that send impulses to your spinal cord. If your spinal nerves are irritated, an injection can block painful impulses. As well as treating pain, a dorsal root ganglion block can be used to help pinpoint the area and cause of your back pain.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Treatment is done under local anaesthetic, meaning you’ll be awake but shouldn’t feel pain during the procedure.


    You'll be asked to lie on your stomach while your consultant inserts a special needle into your spine and carefully guides it towards the dorsal root ganglion. A small amount of contrast dye may be injected first. This will help them to see the exact position of the needle using an X-ray instrument called a fluoroscope.


    Once the needle is in the correct position, a solution of a steroid, sometimes along with more local anaesthetic, will be injected to relieve the pain.


    The procedure usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. It's important to tell them about any medications you're currently taking. You'll also need to arrange for someone to take you home after your appointment, as you shouldn't drive immediately following the procedure.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    After the procedure, your consultant will help you to stand. Your legs may feel a little weak initially, but this shouldn't last long.


    Most people will start to experience some pain relief within 15 minutes of the procedure. You'll be able to go home shortly afterwards. Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including exercise.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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