• Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Rehabilitation

Dorsal Root Ganglion Blocks

Alternate names

Nerve root injections

Description and Presentation

Dorsal root ganglion blocks (nerve root injections) are a procedure in which the spinal nerve roots are injected with local anaesthetic and steroid to treat pain caused by irritation and inflammation of spinal nerves.

Dorsal root ganglion blocks can be performed along the vertebral column:

  • A cervical root block is in to the neck
  • A thoracic root block is in the upper part of the back
  • A lumbar root block is in the lower part of the back

Investigation

X-rays, ultrasound scan and/or MRI scan.

Dorsal Root Ganglion Blocks

Non operative treatment will be discussed with you at your consultation. Depending on your particular situation, these can include measures such as physiotherapy, medication, acupuncture and more rarely, surgery.

Operative treatment: Dorsal root ganglion blocks are performed under X-ray guidance. The appropriate area is sprayed with antiseptic prior to being injected with local anaesthetic to numb the area. At this point a fine needle will be positioned (under X-ray guidance) to the correct area. Once the needle is in position, the injection is given. The details of the procedure, its specific risks and potential complications will be discussed with you prior to your procedure.

Dorsal Root Ganglion Blocks

The pain relieving effect of these injections may not be apparent for up to two weeks.
You will experience back discomfort for a few days after your injections and may feel “bruised”. We normally suggest that you take things gently during this time. Please use your usual analgesics as prescribed.

When your back, arms or legs are feeling more comfortable, you will need to perform daily exercises and muscle stretches. Start slowly and build up time spent exercising over a few weeks.

Outcome

These injections can give months or weeks of relief of pain. They can aid exercise programmes and are sometimes performed to aid diagnosis prior to surgery.