how long does nerve block last

If you suffer from chronic pain, you may have heard of nerve blocks as a pain relief option. Nerve blocks involve injecting a local anesthetic near the affected nerve to control pain. 

This procedure can be helpful for various conditions, from nerve injury to managing chronic pain. However, how long does the nerve block last? This is a common concern among patients who are considering this treatment option.

In this blog, we’ll explore the duration of nerve blocks, the different types involved, and the safety considerations associated with this technique. 

We’ll also discuss how nerve blocks work to provide pain relief and their role in managing different types of nerve pain. Let’s dive in.

But first, let’s take a look at how nerve block injections are performed and how they work to relieve pain.

What Is A Nerve Block?

A nerve block is an injection of a local anesthetic (numbing medication) and a steroid medication. The medication is injected near the nerves that are sending pain signals. Nerve blocks can be used to diagnose the source of pain, and they can also be used as a treatment to provide pain relief.

There are many different types of nerve blocks, and the one that is right for you will depend on your particular situation. The most common types of nerve blocks are:

Cervical Nerve Block

A cervical nerve block is a medical procedure used to relieve pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It involves injecting a local anesthetic or a combination of anesthetics and steroids into the nerves that transmit pain signals from the affected area. The injections are targeted at specific nerves in the cervical (neck) region.

Thoracic Nerve Block

This type of nerve block aims to provide pain relief in the thoracic region of the body, which includes the chest and upper back areas. This is achieved by injecting local anesthetics or a combination of anesthetics and steroids near the specific nerves that are causing the pain.

This block can help alleviate pain caused by various conditions, such as post-herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain following shingles), intercostal neuralgia (nerve pain in the ribs), rib fractures, or chronic pain due to arthritis or other disorders affecting the thoracic region.

Lumbar Nerve Block

This medical procedure is designed to help alleviate pain in the lower back, which is also known as the lumbar region. This is accomplished by injecting a local anesthetic or a combination of anesthetics and steroids near the specific nerves that are transmitting the pain signals.

A lumbar nerve block can help manage pain caused by various conditions, including sciatica, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, chronic pain due to arthritis, or other disorders affecting the lumbar region.

Intercostal Nerve Block

This type of nerve block injection targets the pain in the chest or upper abdomen. The intercostal nerves run between the ribs and are responsible for transmitting pain signals from this area of the body.

An intercostal nerve block can be used to help manage pain caused by various conditions such as shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia), surgery in the chest or upper abdomen, rib fractures, or chronic pain due to other conditions affecting the intercostal nerves.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Nerve Blocks?

Nerve blocks can be used to provide pain relief for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis pain
  • Back pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Neck pain
  • Neuralgia
  • Postoperative pain
  • Shingles
  • Sports injuries
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

How Long Does the Effects of Nerve Blocks Last?

nerve block

The duration of the effects of nerve blocks can vary greatly depending on the type and purpose of the block. For instance, anesthetic nerve blocks used for procedures like hand surgery typically last between 6-8 hours, while a nerve block for pain management after total knee replacement can last for 12-24 hours.

For some types of nerve blocks, you can expect to start noticing pain relief immediately after the injection, usually within 15-30 minutes. On the other hand, long-acting spinal nerve blocks can last up to two years, although this type of nerve block has the most side effects.

Non-surgical nerve blocks can last for several months or even years. Surgical nerve blocks aim to have permanent effects, but pain can still return.

In general, a nerve block can last anywhere from 12 to 36 hours, depending on the type used. After the injection, you will probably experience a sensation of pain relief in the area injected, which can last a few weeks to months.


How long does a nerve block last?

The duration of a nerve block can vary depending on several factors, including the type of nerve block, the specific condition being treated, and individual variations. In general, nerve blocks can provide temporary pain relief that may last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Are nerve blocks safe?

Nerve blocks are generally considered safe when performed by a qualified healthcare professional. However, as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of nerve blocks with your doctor before undergoing the procedure.

Does a nerve block hurt?

The injection of a nerve block can cause some discomfort or a small pinch sensation. However, a local anesthetic is typically used to numb the area before the injection, which helps minimize any pain or discomfort during the procedure.

How long does it take for a nerve block to take effect?

The time it takes for a nerve block to take effect can vary, but it is usually relatively quick. In many cases, patients will start to experience pain relief within minutes of the injection. However, it is important to note that the full effects of the nerve block may take a short while longer to develop.

Have Your Nerve Blocks Administered By Our Specialists

doctor and patient

If you are considering nerve blocks to manage your chronic pain, it is essential to talk to our medical professionals at VISP to learn more about the procedure and determine if it is suitable for you. 

Additionally, a nerve block procedure can be an effective complement to other pain management strategies, such as physical therapy and pain medications, to help you manage your pain more effectively and enhance your overall quality of life.

Visit our website or call us at (928) 771-VISP (8477) to set up an appointment.