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A selective nerve root block is an X-ray–guided injection of a steroid (an anti-inflammatory drug) and a numbing medicine into the area of the specific nerve that your doctor suspects is causing your pain. 

UM Pain specialists usually recommend this minimally invasive procedure for pain in the arm or leg that follows the path of a single nerve. Doctors use nerve root blocks both to help determine the source of pain and/or to actually relieve pain. Sometimes the block can help identify whether or not surgery might be helpful.

Selective nerve root blocks will not correct the pre-existing medical problem (such as spinal stenosis, herniated or bulging disc, arthritis, etc.) but may improve the level of pain and function.

This procedure is very similar to an epidural steroid injection, except that the injection is not into the epidural space but near where the selected nerve exits the spinal column. Read our patient information about epidural steroid injections to learn more about this procedure.