A peripheral nerve block is a therapeutic injection that interrupts the transmission of pain signals to and from peripheral nerves. The peripheral nervous system is made up of 43 pairs of nerves that control sensation, movement, and coordination. If damaged, these nerves can cause a number of complex, debilitating symptoms including shooting, burning, or throbbing pain in the limbs and throughout the body; muscle paralysis and spasms; reduced coordination and balance; and increased sensitivity to touch. A peripheral nerve block decreases irritation and inflammation of the affected nerves and reduces pain.
What To Expect
The procedure begins with the patient lying face down on a table with his or her back exposed. Patients may be given a mild sedative to minimize discomfort throughout the procedure. Using ultrasound guidance, a TriState Pain Institute physician will identify affected nerves and determine the placement of the peripheral nerve block.
The skin around the injection site will then be numbed with a local anesthetic. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, a hollow needle will be inserted through the skin and into the peripheral nerves where a medication mixture will be injected. For patients requiring a continuous nerve block, a small catheter will be placed into the targeted nerves and will remain in the body for several days. Gauze and a bandage may be placed over the injection site once the medication has been administered.
Patients may be asked to reduce their normal level of functioning for several hours or days after the procedure. Mild swelling and soreness may be present after the treatment. This is normal and should subside after 2 or 3 days. Patients should monitor the injection site and apply new bandages if necessary. A peripheral nerve block may provide anywhere from several weeks to several months of pain relief, depending on the severity of the patient's condition and symptoms.