Nerve Block Injections
Nerve block injections give temporary relief for certain types of chronic pain. Using imaging to pinpoint a specific nerve or group of nerves, a doctor injects an anesthetic or anti-inflammatory medication. The goal is to turn off pain signals or decrease inflammation to give the body a chance to heal.
Doctors can also gain important information about the cause of your pain by monitoring your response to the injection.
Nerve block injections are most commonly used to relieve pain caused by nerve issues in the hips, legs, and arms.
What to Expect From a Nerve Block Injection
We use ultrasound to guide nerve block injections, which are administered in our outpatient office in midtown Manhattan. Each year, our musculoskeletal radiologists use ultrasound to guide hundreds of procedures that help diagnose, manage, and relieve pain.
We work closely with your doctor to ensure that you receive the right treatment for your pain. When nerve block injections are recommended, we provide the expertise of an experienced team to treat and monitor your condition.
How do I get ready for the procedure?
We will tell you which medications you may take on the days before, and on the day of, your procedure. Make sure you have someone available to drive you home on the day of the procedure.
What will happen during the procedure?
When you arrive at our office, we will ask you to change into a gown and escort you to the procedure room. You will lie down on the examination table with the area we are treating exposed.
When you are comfortable, we will prepare for the injections by taking a series of ultrasound images. The imaging itself is painless. We will clean the area to be treated and inject a numbing medicine into the area. We will then use ultrasound to inject the medication as close as possible to the nerves that are causing your pain. The medication is a steroid or an anesthetic, depending on your condition.
You may have one injection or several injections. You may feel a momentary shooting pain, similar to the pain that you are being treated for, as the injection reaches the nerve.
Nerve block injections take minutes, but you will rest for up to 30 minutes afterwards while the medication takes effect.
Are there any risks?
Nerve block injections are generally safe. Rarely, an allergic reaction to the steroid medication may occur. Frequent, repeated steroid injections to the same area can cause weakness of the bone, ligaments, and tendons. Your doctor will limit the number of injections to two to three per year.
After the procedure
You may feel some numbness or weakness. We will make sure you can walk properly before you are released, and you will be instructed to rest and refrain from driving for the rest of the day. You can resume normal activities the following day.
Nerve block injections provide temporary relief, which often occurs immediately after the injection. Relief may last up to three weeks, though it varies widely from person to person. Your doctor may recommend a series of injections, which in some cases provide the relief necessary to allow your body to heal completely.