Nerve blocks can be performed on almost any nerve root throughout the spine and on nerves within the “peripheral extremities” the arms, legs, shoulders, knees and feet. A nerve block can both help to diagnose the source of nerve pain and provide pain relief.
Nerve block is a general term for a procedure where an interventional pain management specialist injects anesthetic medicine around a nerve or group of nerves to stop pain signals from reaching the brain and to reduce inflammation in the area.
Below are some examples of nerve blocks commonly performed byNewbridge Spine & Pain physicians:
Selective Nerve Root Block (SNRB)
When a nerve root becomes compressed and inflamed, it can produce back and/or leg pain. A selective nerve root block (SNRB), is primarily used to diagnose the source of nerve root pain and, secondarily, for the relief of low back pain and/or leg pain. Occasionally, an imaging study (e.g. MRI) may not clearly show which nerve is causing the pain and an SNRB injection is performed to assist in isolating the source of pain. In addition to its diagnostic function, this type of injection for pain management can also be used as a treatment for a far lateral disc herniation (a disc that ruptures outside the spinal canal).
Occipital Nerve Block
An occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the nerves located on the back of the head just above the neck area. This injections relieves pain caused by excessive amounts of stress to the neck and spine resulting in cervicogenic headaches. Common symptoms include a steady, non-throbbing pain to the back and base of the skull. The pain can also sometimes extend down to the neck and between the shoulder blades, occasionally pain is experienced behind the brows and the forehead.
The steroid injected reduces the inflammation and swelling of tissue around the occipital nerves. This may in turn reduce pain, and other symptoms caused by inflammation or irritation of the nerves and surrounding structures. Typically, headaches over the back of the head, including certain types of tension headaches and migraine headaches, may respond to occipital nerve blocks.
Cervical Selective Nerve Block
This injection relieves pain in the neck shoulders and arms caused by a pinched nerve or nerves. It can be used to treat conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs and radiculopathy. The procedure is performed with the patient lying face down or face up exposing the neck. The patient may be sedated but awake during the procedure.
Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve BlockThe sympathetic nerve block is performed to relieve leg pain caused by the complex regional pain syndromes, which may develop after an injury or to a joint or limb. Usually a series of injections are needed to treat this problem. The legs pay feel weak or numb after the procedure, then, pain from the legs should improve.
Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block
The stellate ganglion nerve block injection can both diagnose and treat pain coming form the sympathetic nerves. It is a common treatment for shingles and complex regional pain syndrome affecting the head, neck, or arms.
Peripheral Nerve Blocks
Peripheral Nerves blocks are used to treat any kind of neuropathy or or painful nerve dysfunction located in the peripheral extremities, arms and legs. They are extremely effective for short-term pain relief. Patients undergoing these procedures have very little side effects and require only a short recovery time.
Genicular Nerve Block
The genicular nerve block is specific to the genicular nerve in the knee and is effective in treating a range of knee pain.