Curious about a pain relief option that doesn’t involve surgery?

Nerve blocks have emerged as a valuable tool in addressing stubborn body pain, and this guide aims to provide a thorough understanding of their applications, benefits, and potential drawbacks. 

Whether you’re considering this option or just exploring pain management alternatives, it’s essential to fully understand nerve block pros and cons. Keep reading below to learn more!

What Is Nerve Block Procedure?

A nerve block, or peripheral nerve blockade, is a minimally invasive treatment where a nerve-numbing substance is injected to manage or prevent various types of intractable pain. This technique aims to disrupt pain signals between the nerves and the brain, offering a potential way to alleviate discomfort.

Who Are the Candidates for a Nerve Block Procedure?

shoulder pain

Individuals experiencing nerve pain persisting for three months, who have explored conservative treatments like physical therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and prescription medications (such as gabapentin, pregabalin, or duloxetine), may find relief through interventional nerve treatments like nerve blocks. 

Nerve blocks offer a targeted approach to pain management, aiming to disrupt pain signals and provide effective relief for those who have exhausted traditional avenues of treatment.

This procedure aims to enhance the overall quality of life by increasing functionality in daily activities, such as work, exercise, and routine tasks.

Types of Nerve Blocks:

Cervical Nerve Blocks:

  • Purpose: Identify and alleviate neck, shoulder, or arm pain by targeting the cervical spine.
  • Procedure: Steroid injections are utilized to reduce inflammation, promoting the healing of damaged nerves for both diagnostic and long-term pain relief.

Thoracic Nerve Blocks:

  • Purpose: Address pain in the mid-back region, chest, and abdomen.
  • Procedure: Identify the specific nerve causing pain in the targeted area, allowing for a precise treatment plan. Numbing medication can be injected for temporary or longer-term pain relief.
lower back pain

Lumbar Nerve Blocks:

  • Purpose: Identify and relieve pain originating from the lower back and legs (sciatica).
  • Procedure: Immediate pain relief can be achieved, and if the initial nerve block is successful, a series of treatments may be scheduled for longer-term relief.

Intercostal Nerve Blocks:

  • Purpose: Identify the source of pain in and around the ribs.
  • Procedure: Useful for those experiencing rib pain, requiring a chest tube insertion, or seeking relief from pain due to rib fractures. This procedure serves both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Peripheral Nerve Blocks:

  • Purpose: Manage pain in specific body regions, such as the face (trigeminal nerve block) or limbs.
  • Procedure: Peripheral nerve block involves the injection of an anesthetic near a peripheral nerve.

These nerve block options offer a tailored approach to pain management, allowing our patients to pinpoint the source of their discomfort and receive targeted relief. If you find yourself dealing with persistent pain in specific areas, exploring these nerve block options could be a valuable step toward a more comfortable and active life.

Note: Always consult with your healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your individual needs.

[Read more: The Different Types of Nerve Blocks]

Nerve Block Pros and Cons

Pros

Effective Pain Management:

Nerve blocks offer swift and almost immediate relief from pain, providing patients with an efficient solution for their discomfort.

Minimized Use of Pain Medications:

By targeting the source of pain directly, nerve blocks can reduce reliance on traditional pain medications, minimizing potential side effects associated with long-term drug use.

Temporary Pain Relief for Chronic Conditions:

Individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions can benefit from temporary relief through nerve blocks, allowing them to experience periods of comfort.

Reduced Need for Surgery:

In certain cases, nerve blocks can diminish the necessity for invasive surgical procedures, offering a less intrusive alternative for pain management.

Improved Functionality:

Nerve blocks can enhance overall functionality, enabling patients to engage in daily activities, work, and exercise more comfortably.

Nerve Block Pros and Cons

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Cons

Temporary Relief:

One of the drawbacks of nerve blocks is that their effects are not permanent. Multiple procedures may be required to sustain prolonged relief.

Potential Side Effects and Risks:

While generally safe, nerve blocks may result in side effects such as numbness, weakness, or allergic reactions. These effects are typically temporary. Complications may include rare occurrences of nerve damage, infection, bleeding, or allergic reactions, but our highly trained medical professionals prioritize safety and take precautions to minimize these risks.

Discomfort During Injection:

While the procedure is generally well-tolerated, some patients may experience temporary discomfort or pain during the injection. This can be managed with local anesthesia or sedating medicine administered before the procedure.

What Can Go Wrong With a Nerve Block?

Nerve blocks are generally considered safe, with complications being rare. Our highly trained medical professionals prioritize safety and take precautions to minimize risks. While there may be temporary discomfort during the injection, this can be effectively managed with local anesthesia or sedation administered before the procedure. 

Always consult with our experienced healthcare professionals to understand the potential benefits and risks based on your health profile.

Is a Nerve Block Worth It?

Deciding on a nerve block depends on your pain management goals, the nature of your condition, and consultation with a healthcare professional.

How Many Years Does a Nerve Block Last?

Generally, nerve blocks can provide temporary pain relief that may last anywhere from a few hours to several days. The duration of relief varies among individuals. Nerve blocks may offer temporary relief, and the need for repeat procedures depends on the case.

Tired of Chronic Pain? Get a Medical Consultation Today!

Nerve blocks present a promising option for pain management, offering effective relief with minimal invasiveness. Whether you’ve endured chronic pain in the neck, back, or limbs, or sought relief from rib-related discomfort, the tailored approach of nerve blocks may be your key to a more comfortable and active life.

If you resonate with the challenges discussed in this guide and believe nerve blocks might be the right path for you, we encourage you to take the next step.
Schedule a consultation with VISP today. Let us collaborate to understand your unique pain management needs and explore how nerve blocks can be integrated into your personalized treatment plan. Regain control over your life and embark on a journey toward effective, targeted pain relief.

Author Profile

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.

About Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.