Peripheral Nerve Blocks
Peripheral nerve blocks are generally done to control pain arising from a nerve, also known as a neuralgia. Nerve injury can be caused by trauma, compression, ischemia, or toxic exposure to a nerve. The block involves the injection of a local anesthetic with a steroid in proximity to the injured nerve to decrease the conduction of pain signals along the nerve. In cases of specific sensory nerves, cold (cryotherapy) or heat (radiofrequency lesioning) can be utilized to provide a longer term nerve block of up to 6-9 months. Neurolytic substances such as phenol or alcohol can be used in cases of terminal illness to provide long term and compassionate pain relief. Complications from a Peripheral Nerve block are rare, but include bruising, infection, or nerve injury. Ice can be applied to the injection site for up to 20 minutes three times a day on the day or two after the procedure to minimize local inflammation from the injection.
Commonly performed peripheral nerve blocks include:
- Median nerve blocks for carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ilioinguinal nerve blocks for groin pain after hernia surgery, or due to compression from tight fitting belts, or trauma.
- Neuroma injections for Morton’s neuroma, or neuroma formation after surgical injury to a nerve (Neuroma is a benign growth on nerves that spontaneously transmit pain signals.)
- Sciatic or femoral nerve blocks for leg or knee pain