Selective Nerve Root Injections


A selective nerve root injection involves an injection of steroid and numbing medication around a specific nerve root, or spinal nerve, near the spinal cord. The selective nerve root injection can be performed in the following areas:

  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Low back

The procedure is used to both diagnose and treat an inflamed spinal nerve. The injected medication reduces inflammation and numbs pain transmitted by the affected nerve. Selective nerve root injections work by a combination of the following methods:

  • Inhibit certain enzymes that cause irritation and pain
  • Blocks specific fibers (C fibers) and reduces pain signals to the brain
  • Decreases the permeability of nerve fibers, decreasing pain


Indications for selective nerve root injections include the following:

  • Recurrent radiculopathy after discectomy
  • Disc herniation
  • Atypical extremity pain
  • Imaging studies and clinical presentation do not correlate
  • MRI studies do not provide a definite diagnosis
  • For anomalous innervations, such as conjoined nerve roots or furcal nerves
  • Failed back surgery syndrome with atypical extremity pain
  • Transitional vertebrae