What is a Peripheral Nerve Block Injection?
A peripheral nerve block injection is an anesthetic and anti-inflammatory treatment and diagnostic tool commonly used for painful conditions. While traditional peripheral nerve blocks are applied to control acute pain, diagnostic nerve blocks are used to identify the source of pain. Prognostic nerve blocks, on the other hand, predict the outcomes of treatments. For example, a nerve block may be performed to determine if more permanent treatments, such as surgery, would be successful in treating pain.
Patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from this form of treatment. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition caused by the compression of the median nerve. The median nerve is responsible for providing sensory feedback to all fingers except the pinky. This nerve, which runs the length of the arm, goes through a small passage near the palm of your hand called the carpal tunnel. A peripheral nerve block injection can sometimes mitigate the need for carpal tunnel surgery.
How Does Peripheral Nerve Block Injection Work?
Prior to receiving the injection, an IV line is set up to ensure the even distribution of intravenous pain medication. A local anesthetic is also applied at the injection site in order to minimize discomfort. Once the area is numbed, an epidural needle is inserted. With the aid of fluoroscopy, a form of x-ray guide, your physician will locate the impacted site accurately. Immediately after the procedure, some burning and pinching sensation can occur as the numbing agent takes effect.
Those who receive a lumbar sympathetic nerve block injection tend to experience immediate relief, but this is often the result of the anesthetics. Once these wear off, it takes 2 to 3 days for the steroids to affect and provide long-term relief. Depending on the symptoms, and to experience relief for longer, patients may need to receive more than one injection. Although rare, patients should consult a physician if they experience:
- A prolonged headache
- Loss of feeling in the limbs or groin
- Shortness of breath
- Stiffness or redness at the injection site
How to Prepare for Peripheral Nerve Block Injection
To assess your eligibility for a peripheral nerve block injection, your physician must perform a comprehensive medical evaluation and carefully examine your medical and family history. This step is particularly important considering that corticosteroids can temporarily raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and affect patients with bleeding problems.
To confirm the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome, x-rays, and nerve conduction studies may also be recommended. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above, please contact our team as soon as possible. Our interventional pain specialists have decades of pain management and recovery expertise. We are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding your condition or the care options available to you.