What to Expect at a Nerve Block Appointment


What are nerve block injections?

A nerve block injection is a medical procedure in which anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medication is injected around a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to help prevent or manage pain. Non-surgical nerve blocks temporarily prevent the nerves from sending pain signals to the central nervous system.

Nerve block injection preparation

Typically, no special preparation is needed prior to a nerve block; however, depending on the type of nerve block, there may be eating and drinking restrictions. Anti-inflammatory medications should be avoided for 24 hours prior to the procedure, and if an individual is on blood-thinning medications, the provider should be made aware before scheduling a procedure.

Nerve block injection procedure

The injection site is cleansed, and a local anesthetic is used to numb the injection site. Low level electrical stimulation may be used to locate the nerve or bundle of nerves that are causing the pain. A fluoroscope, ultrasound, or CT scan is used to guide a needle that injects anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medication around the affected nerve(s).

Following the injection, the individual is moved to a recovery area and monitored for adverse reactions. The healthcare provider then consults with the individual to assess the effectiveness of the nerve block. In total, the procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.


Specific instructions are given following the procedure. Individuals who get a nerve block injection should not drive themselves home.

How long does a nerve block injection last?

In most cases, the numbing effect of a nerve block injection lasts from 8 to 36 hours. Repeated or long-term nerve block treatment may be needed to manage chronic pain and inflammation.

Surgical nerve blocks are a more permanent treatment for chronic pain; however, they are reserved for rare cases. During a surgical nerve block, the nerve is intentionally damaged or cut to relieve chronic pain. However, it is important to note that a nerve can regrow or repair itself.