Risks and Benefits of an Epidural Nerve Block


What is an epidural nerve block?

An epidural nerve block is one of the most common uses of an epidural. It involves anesthetic medicine being injected into the epidural space around the spine. The medicine blocks pain signals that travel from the spine to the brain. They typically begin to work in 10 to 20 minutes.

The spinal cord connects nerves throughout the body to the brain. For example, a foot injury sends a pain signal to the spinal cord, which then sends the signal to the brain and back into the foot. An epidural anesthetic can temporarily numb spinal nerves, which, in turn, blocks pain signals.


As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Headache
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Temporary numbness or weakness
  • Allergic reaction to medication


An epidural nerve block can be very beneficial. Benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Generally very safe
  • Immediate relief, within 10 to 20 minutes
  • Can offer long-term pain relief
  • Improves functionality
  • Better daily life