Nerve blocks, or neural blockades, are procedures that can help prevent or manage many different types of pain. They are often injections of medicines that block the pain from specific nerves. They can be used for pain relief as well as total loss of feeling if needed for surgery.
These neural blockades can be temporary or longer-lasting. Healthcare providers may give them local anesthesia after numbing where the needle enters the skin. They can also block pain signals to an area by deliberately cutting or destroying certain nerves during surgery.
These are types of nonsurgical nerve blocks:
- Epidural analgesia or anesthesia: The healthcare provider may inject medicine outside the spinal cord.
- Spinal anesthesia or analgesia: The healthcare provider may inject medicine into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.
- Peripheral nerve blockade: The healthcare provider may inject medicine around a target nerve causing pain.
Nerve blocks can be used to manage chronic, or long-term, pain, pain after surgery, severe acute, or short-term, pain, and ease pain by offering immediate relief. They can also offer longer-term relief because some injections reduce irritation to the nerves and let them heal.
Nerve blocks can help people who have chronic pain function better in their daily lives, allowing them to go to work, exercise, and do daily tasks.
The above information is for general education purposes only. Please ask your doctor specific questions during your visit.