Therapeutic selective nerve root block in the nonsurgical treatment of atraumatic cervical spondylotic radicular pain: a retrospective analysis with independent clinical review

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000 Jun;81(6):741-6. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(00)90104-7.


Objective: To investigate the outcomes resulting from the use of fluoroscopically guided therapeutic selective nerve root block (SNRB) in the nonsurgical treatment of atraumatic cervical spondylotic radicular pain.

Study design: Retrospective study with independent clinical review.

Participants: Twenty subjects (10 men, 10 women) with mean age 56.6 years.

Methods: Each patient met specific physical examination, radiographic, and electrodiagnostic criteria to confirm a level of cervical involvement. Those patients whose root level remained indeterminate were required to demonstrate a positive response to a fluoroscopically guided diagnostic SNRB prior to the initiation of treatment. Therapeutic injections were administered in conjunction with physical therapy. Data collection and analysis were performed by an independent clinical reviewer.

Main outcome measures: Pain score, work status, medication usage, and patient satisfaction.

Results: Twenty patients with an average symptom duration of 5.8 months were included. An average of 2.2 therapeutic injections was administered. Follow-up data collection transpired at an average of 21.2 months following discharge from treatment. A significant reduction (p = .001) in pain score was observed at the time of follow-up. Medication usage was also significantly improved (p = .005) at the time of follow-up. An overall good or excellent result was observed in 60%. Thirty percent of patients required surgery. Younger patients were more likely (p = .0047) to report the highest patient satisfaction rating following treatment.

Conclusions: This study suggests that fluoroscopically guided therapeutic SNRB is a clinically effective intervention in the treatment of atraumatic cervical spondylotic radicular pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / methods*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiculopathy / diagnosis
  • Radiculopathy / rehabilitation
  • Radiculopathy / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / diagnosis
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / rehabilitation
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / therapy*


  • Analgesics