Nerve blocks may be done to treat pain caused by a range of conditions. The type of nerve block done will depend on the patient’s condition and pain level.
A celiac plexus block is an injectable pain relief treatment for severe abdominal pain caused by pancreatic cancer. The injection stops the celiac plexus nerves in the abdomen from sending pain signals to the brain either temporarily or long-term.
This type of nerve block eases pain caused by a variety of health problems in the lower pelvis and groin. The ganglion impar sits in front of the sacrum, which is the lowest part of the spine, and above the tailbone.
During treatment, the healthcare practitioner will inject the medication into the area near the tailbone and between the buttocks. Treatment with a ganglion impar block may benefit patients with vaginal or vulvar cancer, scrotal cancer, rectal or anal cancer, bladder cancer, pain in the tailbone, rectal pain, or pain from other nearby structures.
A hypogastric plexus block is a treatment targeting a bundle of nerves near the bottom of the spine. This type of nerve block may be necessary to treat chronic pain in the pelvic area.
Under X-ray guidance, the healthcare provider will insert needles into the back, near the hip bone, and inject dye to confirm the right location. The physician will then inject the medication, and possibly a steroid, to treat the pain.
The ilioinguinal nerve begins in the lower back spinal nerve and wraps above the upper ridge of the hip bone and travels into the groin. The nerve provides sensation to the groin, perineum, and upper inner thigh. A nerve block targeting the ilioinguinal nerve may be done to treat groin pain, often after hernia surgery or trauma to the groin.
An intercostal nerve block is done to relieve chest pain caused by a herpes zoster infection or a surgical incision. This type of nerve block can also be done to reduce inflammation and help diagnose the source of pain.
A lumbar sympathetic block may be done to treat reflex sympathetic dystrophy, complex regional pain syndrome, herpes zoster infection (shingles) involving the legs, vascular insufficiency, and peripheral neuropathy.
A medial branch block is a diagnostic procedure that involves injecting an anesthetic near small medial nerves connected to a specific facet joint. If the patient experiences pain relief after the medial branch nerve block, they may be a candidate for another form of treatment for pain.
A facet joint block involves injecting a small amount of local anesthetic and/or medication to numb a facet joint and relieve pain. Facet joints are located in pairs on each side of vertebrae in the neck and back.
An occipital nerve block involves injecting the region where the occipital nerve crosses the skull to manage:
Pain that affects the back of the head or one side of the head
Migraines or cluster headaches
Spondylosis of the cervical facet joints
Tender or painful scalp
This type of nerve block is done to help relieve pain in the head, neck, upper arm, and upper chest. A stellate ganglion block may also be done to increase circulation and blood supply to the arm. The nerve block can be used to diagnose or treat the following problems:
Phantom limb pain
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type I or II
Herpes zoster infection affecting the head, neck, arm, or upper chest