Nerve Block

What is a Nerve Block?

A nerve block is an anesthetic and/or anti-inflammatory injection targeted toward a certain nerve or group of nerves to treat pain. The purpose of the injection is to “turn off” a pain signal coming from a specific location in the body or to decrease inflammation in that area.

Some quick information

How should you prepare for the procedure?

  • Usually, no special preparation is required prior to arrival for a nerve block procedure.

    You will be positioned on your stomach, back or side on a special fluoroscopic or CT table that will give the doctor easiest access to the injection site

How does the procedure work?

  • The medication delivered by the injection will be placed as close to the nerve causing the pain as possible. It will then “shut down” the pain receptors within the nerve(s) causing the problem. 

    The effects of the injection are usually immediate. It only takes a short time for the medication to achieve pain relief. However, nerve blocks are only a temporary fix—they typically last for up to one or two weeks and then wear off as they are absorbed by your body. Some patients undergo several rounds of nerve blocks before they experience long term relief. Others may not receive any long-term pain relief from this type of injection and may require different treatment methods to manage their symptoms.

How is the procedure performed?

  • This procedure is often done on an outpatient basis. However, some patients may require admission following the procedure. Nerve blocks usually take only minutes to administer.

    You will be positioned on a table or other surface to allow the doctor access to the site(s) to be injected. The doctor will then identify the spot the needle needs to be placed, using palpation and/or imaging guidance. 

    More than one injection may be required, depending on how many areas of pain you have or how large an area needs to be covered. The doctor will most likely tell you when he or she inserts the needle and when the injection is done.

    When finished, you will be allowed to rest for 15 to 30 minutes to let the medication take effect. The nurse will also make sure you don’t have any unexpected side effects before you leave the doctor’s office.

What are the benefits?

    • Temporary pain relief
    • Temporary reduction of inflammation in the region of the spine causing pain
    • May help the doctor identify a more specific cause of pain
    • Better ability to function in daily life without the restrictions previously caused by pain

What are the Risks?

      • Infection at the injection site
      • Bleeding
      • Accidental delivery of medication into the blood stream
      • The unexpected spread of medication to other nerves
      • Hitting the “wrong” nerve in an attempt to block the targeted nerve, if the nerves are close together
      • When fluoroscopy or CT is used, there will be minimal low-level radiation. See the Safety page for more information about radiation dose.

      Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant

Our goal is to help the patient regain their quality of life

We relieve your pain, helping you be yourself again!