nerve block procedures

Did you know that 20.4% of adults in the USA have chronic pain? This pain can impact every aspect of your life, and traditional pain management methods may not always be effective. 

That’s where nerve block procedures come in. A nerve block procedure is a type of pain management procedure that involves injecting a local anesthetic to temporarily block the transmission of pain signals along the nerves.

At its core, nerve blocks fall under the umbrella of pain management, aimed at alleviating discomfort and improving the overall quality of life. 

Keep reading to learn more about the details of nerve block procedures and how they can help you manage your pain.

Taking a Closer Look at Nerve Blocks

When it comes to managing pain caused by various medical conditions, nerve blocks are becoming an increasingly popular option for temporary pain relief. Nerve blocks involve injecting local anesthetic medications into a group of nerves that are responsible for causing pain in a specific area of the body.

The Different Types of Nerve Blocks

nerve block injection

Nerve blocks are medical interventions used to control or manage pain by blocking the transmission of nerve signals to relieve pain. They can be classified into surgical and non-surgical methods, each with its own applications and considerations.

Surgical Nerve Blocks:

Surgical Sympathectomy:

  •  Involves cutting or damaging specific nerves to disrupt the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Applications: Used for conditions like complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).

Neurectomy:

  • Procedure: Surgical removal or transection of a nerve.
  • Applications: May be performed to treat certain types of chronic pain when other treatments have failed.

Peripheral Nerve Decompression:

  • Procedure: Surgical decompression of nerves from entrapment or compression.
  • Applications: Often employed for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome.

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS):

  • Procedure: Implantation of electrodes near the spinal cord, delivering electrical impulses to disrupt pain signals.
  • Applications: Used for chronic pain conditions, including failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome.

Non-surgical Nerve Blocks:

Local Anesthetic Injections:

  • Procedure: Involves injecting a local anesthetic near a nerve or group of nerves.
  • Applications: Commonly used for diagnostic purposes to identify the source of pain or for therapeutic pain relief.

Epidural Steroid Injections:

  • Procedure: Injection of a corticosteroid and anesthetic into the epidural space around the spinal cord.
  • Applications: Often used for pain management in conditions such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.

Facet Joint Injections:

  • Procedure: Injection of anesthetic and/or corticosteroid into the facet joints of the spine.
  • Applications: Used for pain relief in conditions affecting the facet joints, such as arthritis.

Peripheral Nerve Blocks:

  • Procedure: Injection of anesthetic near a peripheral nerve.
  • Applications: Used to manage pain in specific regions of the body, such as the face (trigeminal nerve block) or limbs.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA):

  • Procedure: Application of radiofrequency energy to a nerve to create a heat lesion, disrupting pain signals.
  • Applications: Commonly used for chronic pain conditions, particularly in the spine.

How Nerve Blocks Work

When we experience pain, it’s usually caused by a specific group of nerves in the affected area. Nerve blocks work by targeting this specific group of nerves and stopping the pain signal from reaching the brain. This is achieved by injecting a local anesthetic medication into the area around the affected nerves, which numbs the area and provides pain relief.

The Different Types of Nerve Blocks We Offer

There are many types of nerve blocks, each targeting a specific group of nerves. Some of the most common nerve blocks that we offer include:

Nerve Block TypeDescription
Cervical Nerve BlocksInvolve the injection of anesthetic or anti-inflammatory medication around nerves in the cervical (neck) region. These blocks are often used to diagnose and manage pain stemming from issues such as cervical disc herniation, arthritis, or nerve compression.
Thoracic Nerve BlocksTargets the nerves in the thoracic (mid-back) region. By injecting medications near these nerves, often using fluoroscopic guidance, healthcare providers aim to alleviate pain associated with conditions like thoracic spine fractures, intercostal neuralgia, or post-herpetic neuralgia.
Lumbar Nerve BlocksInvolve the injection of medications around the nerves in the lumbar (lower back) region. These blocks are commonly employed for diagnostic purposes to identify the source of lower back pain or as therapeutic interventions for conditions such as lumbar disc herniation or facet joint arthritis.
Intercostal Nerve BlocksTarget the nerves running between the ribs. By injecting local anesthetics or steroids near these nerves, healthcare providers can provide pain relief for conditions like shingles (herpes zoster) affecting the intercostal nerves or post-surgical pain following thoracic surgeries.

The Nerve Block Injection Procedure

The nerve block injection procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic medication around the affected nerves, which usually takes only a few minutes to complete. In some cases, a nerve catheter may be used to deliver medication continuously to the affected area. This is done by inserting a tiny plastic tube into the area around the nerves, which can be left in place for several days.

Benefits of Nerve Blocks

Nerve blocks offer many benefits for managing pain caused by various medical conditions. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Providing immediate pain relief
  • Minimizing the use of pain medications
  • Providing temporary pain relief for chronic pain sufferers
  • Reducing the need for surgery in some cases

Safety and Efficacy of Nerve Blocks

First and foremost, nerve blocks are generally considered safe. Complications are rare, but as with any medical procedure, they can occur. Risks associated with nerve blocks include:

  • Nerve damage 
  • Infection 
  • Bleeding 
  • Allergic reactions 

However, our highly trained and experienced medical professionals take every precaution to minimize these risks.

While nerve blocks are generally safe, it is important to note that they can cause temporary discomfort or pain during the injection. However, this discomfort can be managed with the use of local anesthesia or a sedating medicine, which are administered to patients prior to the procedure.

Nerve Blocks vs. Other Treatment Methods

When it comes to treating pain, there are different treatment methods available, including nerve blocks. Nerve blocks provide the advantage of medication continuously delivered to the affected area, which can help manage pain for longer periods compared to other methods where the effect wears off after a few hours.

Unlike other methods that provide generalized pain relief, nerve blocks target specific nerves responsible for causing pain. By targeting specific nerves, nerve blocks are more precise and effective in treating certain conditions, including chronic pain.

Nerve blocks are typically performed in an operating room, and the procedure itself can take a few hours to complete. However, the duration of pain relief depends on the specific type of block performed.

Treatment MethodsAdvantagesDisadvantages
Medication Continuously Delivered– Provides longer-lasting pain relief- Can be tailored to individual needs– May require catheter insertion- Risk of infection
Nerve Blocks– Precise and effective in targeting specific nerves- Can be used to diagnose and treat pain– May require multiple injections- Risk of adverse effects like nerve damage
Oral Medications– Easy to administer- Available over-the-counter– Effect is not long-lasting- May cause side effects like stomach upset

As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with nerve blocks, such as the possibility of nerve damage or adverse reactions to medication. However, these risks can be mitigated by consulting with a trusted medical provider specializing in pain management, like VISP.

At VISP, we believe in a patient-centered approach to pain management where we work with our patients to develop a personalized treatment plan. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help manage your pain.

Start a Pain Free Life Today!

nerve block assessment

At VISP, we understand the importance of pain management and the impact it has on the daily lives of individuals. That’s why we offer nerve block procedures as a solution to help provide temporary pain relief. By targeting specific nerves and using local anesthetics, we can help alleviate the discomfort associated with various conditions.

We aim to make the process as comfortable as possible for our patients, providing them with the care and attention they deserve.

Through nerve block procedures, we can help manage pain caused by nerve cells affected by various medical conditions. We advocate for temporary pain relief, and our goal is to improve our patients’ quality of life. 

Contact us today to learn more about nerve block procedures and how we can help you achieve pain relief and management.

FAQ

What is a nerve block procedure?

A nerve block procedure is a medical technique used to achieve temporary pain relief. It involves injecting a local anesthetic near a specific group of nerves responsible for causing pain.

How do nerve blocks work?

Nerve blocks work by targeting a specific group of nerves that transmit pain signals. By blocking the transmission of these signals, nerve blocks can provide temporary pain relief.

What are the different types of nerve blocks?

There are various types of nerve blocks commonly used in medical practice. Some examples include occipital nerve blocks, celiac plexus blocks, and stellate ganglion blocks.

What does the nerve block procedure involve?

The nerve block procedure may involve injecting a local anesthetic near the affected nerve or using a nerve catheter. In some cases, a tiny plastic tube may be used to deliver the anesthetic.

How do nerve blocks provide pain relief?

Nerve blocks provide pain relief by delivering a numbing medication to the affected area. This numbs the nerves and temporarily blocks the pain signals from being transmitted to the brain.

Are nerve blocks safe?

Nerve blocks are generally considered safe when performed by trained medical professionals. Safety measures are taken to minimize risks, and potential side effects are carefully monitored.

How do nerve blocks compare to other treatment methods?

Nerve blocks offer advantages such as continuous pain relief compared to other methods where the effect wears off after a few hours. They specifically target the nerves causing pain and can be performed in an operating room.

What are the benefits of nerve block procedures?

Nerve block procedures provide temporary pain relief, improving the quality of life for individuals suffering from various conditions. To learn more about the benefits of nerve block procedures, you can contact VISP, a trusted medical provider specializing in pain management.

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.