There are two primary purposes for using nerve blocks:
- To temporarily ‘block’ or control pain caused by a particular nerve or spinal nerve root by interrupting the pain signal before it reaches the brain.
- As a diagnostic technique in which blocking the pain signal that causes pain helps to identify the nerves that are the pain generators, or carriers of the pain.
What types of pain can benefit from this procedure?
- Nerve blocks can be helpful for many painful conditions. Some of the more common conditions include:
- Neck, back, or leg pain (see epidural injections)
- Syndromes such as reflex sympathetic dystrophy and peripheral vascular disease
- Pain from trauma
- Neuralgia pain
- Chronic pancreatitis
Although nerve blocks can be beneficial to many pain sufferers, it is important to understand that they are only one of many tools used in a comprehensive and individualized pain treatment plan. Nerve blocks are usually used in conjunction with other treatment approaches such as physical and exercise therapy. Blocks can offer a window of opportunity that allows for effective rehabilitation to take place, ultimately helping the patient return to normal function.