Sciatic nerve blocks are therapeutic injections that provide pain relief to those suffering from sciatica, a chronic pain condition that causes intense shooting pain along the sciatic nerve. When the sciatic nerve becomes damaged or compressed by surrounding muscles or a herniated or bulging disc, pain, tingling, numbness, limping, and muscle weakness may occur. This injection therapy may also be used to provide postoperative pain relief from an amputation or surgical procedure to a limb.
What To Expect
Patients are first given a sedative either orally or intravenously to help reduce discomfort throughout the procedure. Most sciatic nerve blocks are performed using ultrasound guidance to help with needle placement accuracy. The patient will lie on his or her side with the affected area exposed. A TriState Pain institute physician will sanitize the injection site and mark areas of the skin where the needle(s) will be inserted. A hollow needle will be inserted through the skin into the sciatic nerve.
A separate syringe containing an anesthetic and medication solution will be injected into the sciatic nerve. Patients may experience some pressure and a slight burning sensation during the injection, but this should subside after a few seconds. After the medication mixture has been introduced into the affected nerve, the needle will be removed and a bandage will be placed over the injection site.
Similar to other injections, patients will be placed in a recovery room for 15-30 minutes so they can be monitored for any signs of complication or adverse reactions. A TriState Pain Institute physician may advise patients limit their physical activity levels for at least 48 hours. Patients may feel immediate pain relief shortly after the procedure due to the anesthesia. This may dissipate after a few hours, but long-term pain relief will likely be felt 3-5 days after the injection. Patients should notify their pain management physician of any signs of infection, swelling, spontaneous bleeding, or unusual pain.