Selective Nerve Blocks

Selective Nerve Blocks Treatment by Dr. Vivek Loomba


A selective nerve block is a type of injection of local anesthesia administered near a specific group of nerves. The main goal of this injection is to numb the area of the body which helps in providing important diagnostic information on whether that particular nerve is causing pain. 

Selective nerve blocks can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including pain in the arms or legs, migraines, and dental pain. They can also be used as part of pre-operative anesthesia for certain types of surgery.

Conditions Treated with Selective Nerve Block Injections

Selective Nerve Block injections such as lidocaine are most commonly used to treat pain. They work as local anesthetics in the area around a specific nerve or group of nerves causing pain. It numbs the affected nerve by helping it to reduce pain.

There are many different conditions that can be treated with selective nerve blocks. Some common examples include:

  • Arthritis pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Migraine headaches
  • Nerve pain
  • Dental pain
  • Arm or leg pain

Some of the most common causes of pain that can be treated with selective nerve blocks include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint arthritis
  • Herniated discs
  • Sciatica

The effects of a selective nerve block usually last for several hours or days. In some cases, a series of injections may be required to achieve long-term pain relief.

Selective nerve blocks can be an effective treatment for many different types of pain. If you are experiencing chronic pain, talk to your doctor about whether or not a selective nerve block could help you with pain relief.

How Selective Nerve block procedure is performed?

A selective nerve block is performed in an operating room or surgical setting. It is used in a combination with steroids or alone. In the surgical site, the skin is cleansed with sterile soap. A local anesthetic is injected into the site to numb the area. A special imaging machine called as “fluoroscopy” is used to view the affected spine location. A contrast dye is used for confirmation of needle placement. Your doctor will examine at each step of the procedure. Lidocaine is also injected into the area and cortiscosteroid may be added if required. Cortiscosteroid helps in reducing inflammation of the body by coating local nerve roots.

How are Selective Nerve Blocks Diagnosed?

In order to receive a selective nerve block, your doctor will need to first diagnose the source of your pain. This can be done through a variety of means but is typically accomplished through a combination of a physical examination and imaging tests.

During the physical examination, your doctor will assess your symptoms and ask you about your medical history. They will also perform a physical examination of the affected area. Imaging tests may also be performed in order to get a better look at the source of your pain. These tests can include X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.

Once the source of your pain has been diagnosed, your doctor can then determine if a selective nerve block is the best course of treatment for you. If yes, they will use fluoroscopy (a live x-ray) for needle guidance at the target location. The type and amount of medication administered will depend on the patient’s symptoms and conditions.

Risks and Complications of Nerve Block Injections

There are several risks and complications associated with selective nerve blocks, including:

  • Infection: Infection is a rare but serious complication of any type of injection. The risk of infection is increased if the skin is not properly sterilized before the injection is given.
  • Bleeding or bruising: Bleeding or bruising can occur at the injection site. This is usually minor and will resolve on its own.
  • Nerve damage: In rare cases, the needle used for the injection can damage the nerve. This can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area.
  • Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions to the injected medication are rare but can occur. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and dizziness.


Patients may experience discomfort for few days after the procedure. If the patient suffers severe pain or side effects after the procedure they should consult their doctors immediately. Your doctor may also ask you to record the pain levels and effects after the procedure for proper future treatment plans.