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Lumbar Nerve Root Injection


A lumbar nerve root injection is a procedure to inject medicines at the nerve roots of your lumbar (lower back) spine. A nerve root is the area where the nerves branch out from the spinal cord. This procedure is done to decrease inflammation and pain.


The week before your procedure:

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any allergies. These include allergies to food, dye, cleansing solution, such as iodine, or any numbing medicine.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you are pregnant.
  • Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • You may need blood and urine tests. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scan, or MRI, may also be done. Write down the date, time, and location of each test. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests that you may need.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

The night before your procedure:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine on the day of your procedure. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Healthcare providers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for your procedure.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will give you medicine to make you sleepy before your procedure. Tell your healthcare provider if you or anyone in your family has had a problem using anesthesia in the past.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • You will be given medicine to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be asked to lie on your stomach, with your body slightly turned to the side. A pillow may be placed under your abdomen, or you may be asked to bend one or both knees. A medicine called local anesthesia will be given to help control pain during the procedure.
  • A thin needle will be inserted near your lumbar spine to the affected nerve root. Your healthcare provider will use an x-ray with dye or a CT scan to help guide the needle. He will place the needle tip near the nerve root. Once the needle is placed properly, your healthcare provider will inject medicines, such as steroids and anesthesia. After the procedure, the injection sites will be covered with bandages to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection.

After your procedure:

You may be taken to a recovery room to rest. Healthcare providers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When they see that you are okay, you may be allowed to go home. If healthcare providers want you to stay in the hospital, you will be taken back to your hospital room. The bandages used to cover your injection sites keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after your procedure to check your injection sites.


  • You cannot make it to your procedure on time.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a skin infection or an infected wound near your lower back.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • The problems for which you are having the lumbar nerve root injection get worse.


You may get an infection or have bleeding. Other parts near your spine, such as nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and bones, may be damaged. The medicines may spread in areas near the lumbar nerve root and cause numbness in these areas. You may still have leg or lower back pain. Without treatment, the pain and problems you have will continue and may even get worse. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.