Pain Relief with Injection Doesn't Depend on Needle Tip Position
Anesthetic and steroid injections to block nerve pain in the low back can bring patients immediate pain relief. Does the needle tip position at the time of the injection make a difference? That's the question this study answers for surgeons.

Over 1200 patients were included in this study. Injections were made using X-ray imaging to guide the needle into the radicular space. The radicular space is the area where the spinal nerve exits the spinal canal and then travels down the spine.

Researchers used the images to record exact locations of the needle tip at the time of the injection. Three dimensional (3-D) views were taken. They compared the results with how quickly patients got pain relief.

The authors report that exact needle tip position doesn't affect pain outcome. These results give surgeons more freedom when doing nerve block injections. Safety, anatomy, and patient comfort can be used to guide this procedure. The surgeon can avoid getting too close to the nerve root thereby preventing even more pain for patients.
References
Timothy S. Crall, et al. The Diagnostic Effect of Various Needle Tip Positions in Selective Lumbar Nerve Blocks: An Analysis of 1202 Injections. In Spine. April 15, 2006. Vol. 31. No. 8. Pp. 920-922.