Does a Failed Nerve Block Injection Indicate a Misdiagnosis?
Category: Injections | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 29, 2015
Nerve block injections are a common treatment option for reducing back pain, but they can also be used to help diagnose conditions and injuries of the spine. In this blog, we will answer the question: “Does a failed spinal nerve block injection indicate a misdiagnosis?”
Spinal Nerve Block Injections
A spinal nerve block is an injection to the nerve roots of the spine. The goal of such an injection is to reduce back pain by blocking nerve signals from the brain to the spine itself. Nerve blocks are commonly used to treat back pain in patients who wish to avoid surgery, or for whom surgery is not a good option.
Nerve Blocks as Diagnostic Tools
Nerve block injections are used to relieve pain, yes – but they can also be used as diagnostic tools. Certain spinal conditions can be extremely difficult to diagnose with a specific degree of accuracy. The reason being that common symptoms like back pain, neck pain, numbness, etc. can indicate a handful of conditions. It is the surgeon’s job to use everything at their disposal to narrow down the condition affecting the patient, using exams, medical history, MRI scans, and also pain injections.
When imaging scans and physical examinations are not enough to land on a diagnosis, a physician will often recommend diagnostic pain injections. A nerve block injection is a minimally invasive treatment that can differentiate between nerve pain and pain from other spinal structures. If a patient undergoes a nerve block injection at a specific level of the spine and the pain dissipates, that tells the physician that the pain stems from the spinal nerves. On the other hand, if a nerve block does nothing to relieve pain, which indicates that the pain is coming from a different spinal nerve, or from something else entirely.
If you have been suffering through back pain and you can’t get to the root cause, there are ways to get to the bottom of your pain. Once you determine what’s actually causing the back pain, you can move forward to successfully treating the pain. Contact a Minnesota spine specialist today to discuss your options.