What Are Nerve Blocks?
A nerve block is an injection of a nerve numbing drug into a group of nerves that creates pain to a specific body are or organ. The group of nerves are known as a plexus or ganglion.
How Are Nerve Blocks Used?
Different nerve blocks are used for different problems. They can be helpful in avoiding surgery or making surgery more effective.
- · Therapeutic nerve blocks have local anesthetics that are used to attack acute pain areas. They are used to treat painful conditions.
- · Diagnostic nerve blocks are used to help determine the real sources of the pain. These blocks usually also contain an anesthetic.
- · Prognostic nerve blocks are used to determine what further steps, such as surgery, might be helpful to the patient.
- · Preemptive nerve blocks are meant to prevent subsequent pain from a procedure that can cause problems including phantom limb pain.
Side Effects and Risks
- · Bleeding
- · Elevated blood sugars
- · Rash
- · Itching
- · Weight gain
- · Extra energy
- · Soreness
- · Death (in rare cases)
Nerve blocks work best when the pain is localized to a set of nerves.
Types of Nerve Blocks
Various areas of pain require different nerve block types.
- · Neck and Back: Cervical epidural, thoracic epidural, and lumbar epidural block
- · Shoulder and Upper Neck: Cervical plexus block and cervical paravertebral block
- · Shoulder, arm, hand, elbow and wrist: Brachial plexus block, elbow block, and wrist block
- · Abdomen and Pelvis: Subarachnoid block and celiac plexus block
- · There are also nerve blocks that target the face, eyelids, scalp, forehead, jaw, nose and palate.
Other Nerve Blocks
Sympathetic nerve block: Used to see if there is damage to the sympathetic nerve chain (a network of nerves extending the length of the spine). These nerves manage control of some of the involuntary functions of the body.
Stellate ganglion block: Used to see if there is damage to the sympathetic nerve chain supplying the head, neck, chest, or arms and if it is the source of pain in those areas. The primary usage of this nerve block is diagnostic though it may also give some temporary help.
Facet joint block: Please see our brochure on facet joint injections. Facet joints help with spine mobility.
This information is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition.
We are located in Langhorne, PA. We see patients throughout Bucks County and patients from Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery County including Newtown, Levittown, Doylestown, Hamilton, and other locations. You can reach us at 215.741.4410