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What Is A Nerve Block Injection And How Can It Help With Pain Management?

A nerve block sounds complicated, but it’s simply an injection to treat or manage several types of pain. It works by injecting a specific medication that blocks the pain receptors of certain nerves — hence the name.

Nerve block injections can be used to create a total loss of feeling during a surgery, but they can also be used for ongoing pain management. Nerve blocks can be used for spinal pain management as well as for pain relief in your arms, legs, neck and buttocks. Nerve block results can vary by patient; pain relief can last days or months.

Why might your doctor perform a nerve block?

There are two main reasons your doctor may recommend a nerve block:

  • Diagnosing painBy injecting medication around a specific nerve or joint, your doctor will be able to diagnose the source of the pain. After the injection, if your pain is relieved, then that nerve or joint is the cause of your pain.

  • Treating pain
    By injecting an anesthetic or anti-inflammatory medication to reduce your swelling or relieve your pain.

When might your doctor perform a nerve block?

  • Surgeries, including:
    • Knee Surgery
    • Hip Surgery
    • Shoulder Surgery
  • Chronic pain, including:
    • Back Pain
    • Arthritis
    • Nerve Compression

What can I expect during a nerve block procedure?

Nerve block injections aren’t invasive or time-consuming. The total time for your procedure will vary, but typically takes about an hour if you include observation and recovery time. You’ll simply lie on your stomach while an intravenous sedative helps you relax. Your injection site will be cleaned and then numbed with a topical anesthetic. Your doctor or specialist will use an x-ray machine to guide the needle for proper placement of the medication. You may feel some pressure when the needle is inserted and mild burning when the medicine is injected.

What are the benefits of nerve blocks?

Nerve blocks can be used to manage chronic, or long-term, pain, pain after surgery, severe acute, or short-term, pain. Nerve blocks ease pain by offering immediate relief. They can also offer longer-term relief, because some injections reduce irritation to the nerves and let them heal.

Nerve blocks can help people who have chronic pain function better in their daily lives, allowing them to go to work, exercise, and do daily tasks.

Temporary nerve blocks are often a short-term fix. The pain may return within as little as a few hours after the drugs wear off. Some people may need repeated or even long-term nerve block treatments to manage inflammation and pain.

If you’re experiencing chronic or spinal pain, give us a call. King's Daughters' Health is a private, not-for-profit organization focused on delivering exceptional health services to families throughout southeast Indiana and portions of northern Kentucky. Spine issues may develop for many reasons, including injuries and degeneration (arthritis). Our Comprehensive Spine Care Program was created with you in mind. We’ll develop a plan of action that fits your needs and best helps you achieve your goals.

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