COVID-19 restrictions to remain in place at The Walton Centre

Restrictions remain in place across the NHS in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety measures in place over the 18 months therefore remain in place at The Walton Centre - and in our other clinic settings within the community – until further notice.

Due to the increased transmission risk posed by the Omicron variant, visiting has been suspended within The Walton Centre except for exceptional circumstances.

Dorsal root ganglion block

What is a dorsal root ganglion block?

The dorsal root ganglion is nerve root which exits your spinal cord. It is located in a small area in your spine. This space can become very small because of various causes and be the source of pain in the supply area of the nerve. This injection involves depositing steroid in this small area.

Why is a dorsal root ganglion block done?

The main reason for doing this injection is to reduce pain. Steroid may have local effect on the nerve by reducing inflammation and irritation. The pain relief is temporary and may occasionally last longer. During this time you should gradually build up your activity to reduce long-term pain and disability.

How is the injection performed?

Dorsal root ganglion blocks are performed as a day case procedure and you will be asked to attend Jefferson Ward on the day of your procedure. Your pain doctor will tell you how long you should fast before your procedure. On the ward you will have the opportunity to discuss the procedure with a pain doctor; once you are happy to proceed, you will be asked to sign a consent form. You will be required to change into a hospital gown, therefore please bring a dressing gown and suitable foot wear.

The injection is performed whilst you are lying on your stomach on an operating table in theatre. You will be awake throughout the procedure and a nurse will be sat with you. Your doctor will clean your back with a skin cleansing solution. During the procedure, X-rays will be used to help your doctor to locate the injection site. If there is any chance you could be pregnant please let Jefferson Ward staff know upon your arrival. Once the correct area has been identified, your skin will be numbed with local anaesthetic at the injection site and the steroid mixture will be injected in to the small space around the dorsal root ganglion.

If you are diabetic and taking medications for your diabetes, or taking any blood-thinning medications (such as Warfarin or Clopidogrel), you will need to inform your pain doctor as soon as possible.

What happens after the injection?

Following the procedure you will be taken into the recovery room for a short period for monitoring , then transferred back to Jefferson Ward where you will need to rest for a minimum of one hour. You will need to arrange for a friend or family member to collect you from the ward after your procedure as you will not be allowed to drive or travel home unaccompanied. Immediately following the procedure you may feel a reduction of your pain. Very rarely some patients may experience leg weakness, numbness or tingling for a few hours after the injection. It may take seven to 10 days for the steroid to begin to relieve the pain. You may resume usual activity after 24 hours. If you do experience a reduction in your pain, you should slowly build up your activity levels.

Are there any side effects?

There is a possibility of side effects with any medical procedure. Possible side effects from this procedure are as follows;

  • Pain at the injection site. This is temporary and will resolve quickly. The injection may not help your pain. You may notice a temporary flare up of your pain for two to three days.
  • There is a very small risk of serious neurological damage with this procedure, especially if carried out in the neck and upper part of your back. This is very rare.
  • Side effects associated with steroid medications may include fluid retention and weight gain. It may also disrupt periods in ladies for up to two cycles.
  • Last Updated:
    04 February 2019
  • Review Date:
    07 February 2022
  • Author:
    R Barton
  • Summary:

    The dorsal root ganglion is nerve root which exits your spinal cord. It is located in a small area in your spine.

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