A nerve block helps treat neck pain, back pain, and other disorders that cause chronic pain. The procedure involves numbing specific nerves in your back by injecting a local anesthetic medication directly into the spinal column. These types of injections are performed to reduce or eliminate pain and can be used for both short-term relief and longer-lasting relief.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Your physician may consider a spinal nerve block for patients with chronic neck or back pain when conservative options have not been successful at relieving your pain. Among the most common conditions that nerve blocks can help alleviate symptoms for include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
Types of Nerve Blocks
Nerve blocks are administered utilizing either a CT scan, ultrasound, or fluoroscopy to identify the precise location to inject the nerve block. There are a few different types of nerve blocks that you may receive, depending on your extent and type of condition:
Epidural Nerve Block
In an epidural nerve block, your physician will distribute the medicine in the epidural space outside of the spinal cord. Along with chronic pain, this anesthetic medication is most often used to deliver pain relief during childbirth because it numbs the lower half of the body for an extended period.
Sympathetic Nerve Block
A sympathetic nerve block targets the sympathetic nervous system, which is a series of nerves that controls your body’s involuntary functions, such as blood flow, breathing, digestion, and sweating. This type of injection stops pain impulses from reaching the brain, which can help with chronic pain.
Sympathetic nerve blocks are best used for the following conditions:
- Chronic stomach pain
- Pain due to blood vessel spasms
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Excessive sweating
Peripheral Nerve Block
In a peripheral nerve block, the nerve causing pain is directly targeted with a type of regional anesthesia. This injection can be used to control ongoing pain and can also be administered prior to a medical procedure.
Spinal anesthesia or analgesia is a method of pain relief that is achieved by injecting medication into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord. This type of injection can be used to provide short-term or long-term relief from pain.