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Specialist Orthopaedic Doctors

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Back Pain Injections

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Fluoroscopically Guided Digital X-Ray Injections

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Spinal Manipulation

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Exercise & Rehabilitation Programmes for the Young...

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...and the Not So Young

Nerve Root Injections/Blocks

A trapped, inflamed nerve can cause pain in your arm or leg without any neckache or backache (brachialgia or sciatica). An injection of local anaesthetic and steroid around the nerve root will anaesthetise the nerve and reduce any inflammation. One or two small nerves convey pain messages to and from the facet joints and the dural sheath, and these can also be blocked and anaesthetised by this technique.

These nerve root block injections are performed by quite a small number of musculoskeletal or orthopaedic physicians who have a special interest in relieving pain from spinal disorders. These specialist doctors are extremely useful for chronic sufferers and if your own doctor cannot help, he might still be able to refer you to someone with the expertise to give these injections.

At the flagship Blackberry Clinic in Milton Keynes, this type of injection can be given in our fluoroscopy theatre which is adjacent to our Outpatient Clinic. There is no need for a general anaesthetic. To numb the area you will be asked to lie on your front on a couch while the physician injects a small amount of local anaesthetic. Subsequently, the nerve root block can be performed under X-ray guidance. The treatment is not painful and takes about 10 minutes. The nerve block injection itself may only take 30 seconds.

If the relevant nerve root has been located successfully, the anaesthetic mixed with steroid will provide significant pain relief. Prolonged or even permanent relief may be obtained. Once again, the results are variable and it is difficult for doctors to predict how well a particular individual will respond. There are few side effects, if any, from this injection. If the needle has pierced the dura, there will be no further symptoms or problems after the initial day or two's headache and dizziness. The only tiny risk from this injection is that very occasionally the doctor may pierce the dural membrane. Although it will not be very painful, you will have to lie flat for 24 hours if this happens in order to avoid a headache or dizziness caused by any excessive leak of cerebrospinal fluid. This is by no means as serious as it may sound. After two days the doctor will attempt the correct placement of the needle once again. Because of this small risk, it is advisable to take someone with you to drive you home in case you need to spend a day in bed, though if all goes as it should, you will be able to walk or drive yourself.