What to Expect from a Nerve Block

Jul 01, 2023
What to Expect from a Nerve Block
A nerve block is an anesthetic strategy to ease pain by targeting specific nerves or groups of nerves. Nerve blocks may be used after surgery to ease pain through the early stages of recovery, or for event-driven pain like childbirth.

A common pain management tool, nerve blocks are injections or intravenous (IV) feeds of anesthetics intended to block pain signals from nerves before they can reach your brain, where they’re interpreted.

Perhaps the best-known nerve blocks are the numbing needles you receive before dental work or the epidural given during childbirth. These are simple applications used for patient comfort. Nerve blocks can also prevent postsurgical pain symptoms, treat chronic pain, and confirm a diagnosis of active nerves ahead of treatment. 

Dr. Rudy Malayil and our team at Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia, are nerve block specialists. We frequently use nerve blocks as part of a comprehensive control plan for chronic pain sufferers. Today, we’ll look at typical uses from a pain management perspective, so you know what to expect from a nerve block.

Nonsurgical nerve blocks

There are three types of nerve blocks commonly used for pain management, though these are just a few of many. The types we most frequently use include: 

  • Epidural anesthesia: medication injected into various locations along the epidural space of your spine
  • Peripheral nerve blockade: anesthesia injected around a target nerve that’s causing pain
  • Spinal anesthesia: similar to an epidural injection, but targeting the cerebrospinal fluid region 

As well as pain management, nerve blocks sometimes confirm target nerves ahead of other procedures, like radiofrequency ablation or spinal cord stimulation.

Nerve blocks for pain management

Nerve blocks frequently feature in acute, short-term, and chronic pain management. Temporary nerve blocks, with effects lasting as little as a few hours, relieve pain from injuries or conditions that produce severe pain for a limited amount of time. 

Chronic pain nerve block treatments last longer when you need extended relief to function through your normal day. Depending on the formulation of the nerve block, long-lasting pain relief can pair with anti-inflammatory medications. These can relieve nerve irritation enough that tissue in your body has time to heal. 

Regardless of the type of nerve block treatment, you can expect your injection to act fast. Relief usually follows in the next 15 minutes as the injection affects the target nerves. 

What you can expect

The particulars of your nerve block depend on your condition and the type of block chosen for your pain management plan. Some injections require sedation to help you relax, while others may need only local anesthetics. 

Nerve blocks are safe. There’s a tiny risk of infection, as there is any time a needle is involved, and an extremely low risk of damage to a nerve. Even if this occurs, the damage is usually temporary. 

When conservative treatments fail to provide sufficient relief for your pain, nerve blocks may be the next logical step. Contact us at Pain Management 360 by calling our location nearest you, or click to request an appointment online. We’re standing by to help with your pain, so schedule your visit now.