A nerve block is a specific injection that targets a certain nerve or plexus to help diagnose and treat pain.
Nerve block performed
- Caudal epidural block
- Coeliac plexus block
- Epidural (transforaminal epidural block)
- Facet medial branch or facet joint block
- Ganglion impar block
- Genito-femoral nerve block
- Ilioinguinal nerve block
- Intercostal nerve block
- Lumbar sympathetic block
- Occipital nerves (greater occipital and lesser occipital)
- Saphenous nerve block
- Spenopalantine ganglion block
- Splanchnic plexus block
- Stellate ganglion blocks
- Superior hypogastric plexus block
- Supraorbital nerve block
- Suprascapular nerve block
- Third occipital nerves
- Trigeminal ganglion block
Frequently Asked Questions about Nerve Blocks
What medicines are injected?
The injection usually consists of local anaesthetic and cortisone.
Will I “be asleep” for this procedure?
This choice is yours. You can choose to have the procedure done under local anesthetic only. Although the majority of procedures are usually performed under sedation; which can be more comfortable.
It can range from some drowsiness or you may have little or no memory of the procedure. Regardless of the amount of sedation, you must not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior. However, during this time it is ok to take your medications as usual with a sip of water. When choosing sedation you must have someone drive you home.
How is the procedure done?
The procedure is typically done with you lying on your stomach for back injections and on your side for neck injections. There will be an anaesthetist in attendance. Your blood pressure and oxygenation will be monitored.
In addition to your doctor and the x-ray technician, there will be a nurse in the room at all times if you have any questions or discomfort during the procedure. The skin on the back or neck is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then the procedure is done.
What should I expect after the injection?
Immediately after the injection, you may feel your legs or arms, along that specific nerve root, becoming slightly heavy or numb. You may notice that your pain may be gone or considerably less. This is due to the effect of the local anesthetic and lasts only for a few hours. Your pain may return and you may have some soreness at the injection site for a day or so.
What should I do after the procedure?
We advise the patients to take it easy for a day or so after the procedure. Perform your usual daily activities as tolerated by you. Your recovery room nurse will advise you about applying ice to the site.
Can I go back to work the same day or the next day?
You should be able to unless there were complications with the procedure. Your doctor or recovery room nurse will discuss this with you.
How long does the local anesthetic last?
The immediate pain relief effect is from the local anesthetic injected and wears off in a few hours.
What are the risks and side effects?
Overall, this procedure has very few risks. However, as with any procedure, there are some risks and side effects you should know about. Commonly encountered side effects are increased pain from the injection (usually temporary), inadvertent puncture of the “sack” containing spinal fluid (may cause headaches), infection, bleeding, nerve damage, or no relief from your usual pain.
Who should not have this injection?
The following patients should not have this injection: if you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, if you are on a blood-thinning medication (e.g. warfarin, injectable heparin), or if you have an active infection going on. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking blood thinners like warfarin for 4-7 days beforehand. Anti-platelet drugs like plavix may have to be stopped for 5-10 days prior to the procedure.