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What Is A Nerve Block?

Nerve blocks may be performed at Southwest Spine & Sports as a means to confirm a specific diagnosis and/or decrease pain, inflammation, and numbness in the neck, back, limbs, or posterior nerves of the spine. At our Scottsdale, AZ office, we provide two main types of nerve blocks: selective nerve root blocks and medial branch blocks.


Selective nerve root blocks are similar to epidural injections, and the preparation and approach is identical. Epidural refers to the space outside the dura or covering of the spinal cord and inside the spinal canal, running the length of the spinal cord. This specific type of epidural injection can be both a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure. A small quantity of a numbing agent, such as lidocaine, and a steroid are injected at the nerve root that is suspected to be involved. The patient logs any changes in his/her pain levels at different intervals after the procedure. A physical examination and this log allow the physician to observe the response. Because the dose is so small, only one nerve root is affected by the numbing agent, which helps to diagnose which nerve is causing pain, and can also help relieve pain and inflammation.


Medial branch nerves are located on the back of the spine on each side next to each facet joint. They send sensory signals to the brain regarding the facet joints. Medial branch blocks block the sensory signals by injecting medications onto the nerve.

What Are the Benefits of Nerve Blocks?

At Southwest Spine & Sports, we specialize in advanced pain management techniques right here in our practice location. One effective solution to chronic pain that we offer is nerve blocks. This minimally invasive procedure is designed to target the root cause of your pain, giving you benefits that can include:

  • Immediate Pain Relief: One of the biggest advantages of nerve blocks is the rapid alleviation of pain.
  • Reduced Need for Pain Medication: As a safer alternative, nerve blocks help you avoid the adverse effects often associated with common pain medications.
  • Diagnose the Source of Pain: Apart from treating pain, nerve blocks are instrumental in diagnosing the origin of your discomfort.
  • Minimally Invasive: The procedure is performed using a thin needle, meaning a faster recovery time and less risk of infection.

Am I a Candidate for Nerve Blocks?

If you’re grappling with persistent back, neck, limb, or nerve pain, Southwest Spine & Sports in Scottsdale, AZ, may hold the key to your relief with advanced pain management techniques. Selective nerve root blocks and medial branch blocks are particularly effective for patients who haven’t found relief from conventional treatments. These targeted nerve blocks can precisely pinpoint and treat the source of pain, providing long-awaited respite for sufferers. Ideal candidates are those who experience chronic pain that disrupts daily life or who seek to determine the specific nerve roots that are contributing to their pain.

How Are Nerve Blocks Performed?


You may be given the option to receive conscious sedation, which is medication given intravenously to help you relax during the procedure. If sedation is required, you will be monitored closely with an EKG monitor, blood pressure cuff, and blood oxygen monitoring device.

A local anesthetic will be used before the actual injection to diminish discomfort. The physician then locates, under fluoroscopy (X-ray), a specific anatomical target site or location that is near the problem area. Contrast is used to confirm proper needle placement through the foramen or opening where the spinal nerve exits at the level where the disc and nerve injury has occurred. The medication – anesthetic and steroid – is delivered specifically between the disc and nerve interface and along the course of the nerve that is causing the majority of the symptoms.


You will be asked to lie nearly flat on your stomach. Under local anesthesia, using X-ray guidance, a small needle is positioned along the facet joint nerves (medial branches). A small injection of dye may be used to check positioning. Medication is then injected. Each injection takes about 15 minutes. Multiple levels on either one or both sides may be performed in the same session depending upon your symptoms.

The First Step To Blocking the Pain

By using advanced diagnostic and pain relief techniques like selective nerve root blocks and medial branch blocks, the team at Southwest Spine & Sports in Scottsdale, AZ wants to improve your quality of life and get you back to all the activities you enjoy the most. If you have back, neck, limb, or nerve pain and are ready to seek a lasting solution, we welcome you to contact our office at your earliest convenience.


Lumbar Sympathetic Block

Medial Branch Block

Nerve Blocks FAQs

Selective nerve root blocks can help diagnose and treat nerve inflammation or irritation caused by conditions like herniated discs or spinal stenosis. Medial branch blocks can help diagnose and treat facet joint pain or arthritis in the spine.

While not a cure, these blocks can relieve enough pain for some patients to delay or avoid surgery. They’re often part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes regenerative therapy or medications.

Both procedures performed at our Scottsdale, AZ office are quick, usually taking less than 30 minutes.

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"I am so impressed with the quality of service from the entire team at Southwest Spine and Sports. The sense of urgency and determination to not only make the symptoms better but to resolve the issues. Dr. Wolf is the most compassionate doctor I have ever been privileged to have working in my behalf. I thank everyone at Southwest Spine and Sports for their dedication to their field. I am forever grateful!"


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" Dr. Wolff exudes kindness, competency and empathy; top doc."


Review 7

" The care that Dr. Wolff and is staff give is the best. They are all there for you knowledgeable helpful. I can’t say enough good things about them. I’ve been going for 10 years and never disappointed. They know what to do in the office and in the surgery room and how to take the best care of you. Thank You So much Dr Wolff "

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“I have suffered with Plantar Fasciitis for 7 years. I have had steriod injections, physical thereby, rest, and a bunch of other treatments. None have worked. That was until I met Dr. Wolff and his team, including..."



“Dr. Wolff is such an amazing provider always compassionate care. I been seeing Dr. Wolff and his team to treat my Chronic Migraines hands down would refer his clinic and Botox method to get your life back. Thank you..."



"Sheila at Southwest Spine & Sports makes a “bad thing” a little less miserable. I’ve had disc issues since 2004. I continue to struggle with the best method to manage the pain that is associated with lower back issues..."



“I have been a patient South West Spine & Sport for 13 years!  Dr. Wolff and Sheila Janisch ANP are amazing. They listen and are always professional. They are on the leading edge with therapies and procedures..."



"Dear Dr. Wolff, I wanted to thank you for taking care of my frozen shoulder. It has been almost 4 weeks since my injection and I have experienced significant improvement. My day-to-day comfort has improved a lot..."

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“SW Sports & Spine is a great practice. The staff are friendly, caring, and competent. Dr. Wolff asks questions and listens to your answers. He is able to find the source of your pain, explain what he can do to alleviate it..."


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