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What are non-spinal nerve blocks?

A non-spinal nerve block is a minor procedure to treat or diagnose the source of pain. It relieves irritation from a nerve or group of nerves and allows time for healing. A non-spinal nerve block can improve your pain for several days or longer. This can help you start physical therapy and other rehabilitation programs. You may need a series of injections to maintain results and complete your treatment plan.

Non-spinal nerve blocks involve injecting medicine around a specific nerve or group of nerves outside the spine.  

A non-spinal nerve block is a minor procedure, but it still involves some risk. It is only one method used to treat or diagnose the source of pain. Discuss all of your options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.  

Types of non-spinal nerve blocks

The types of non-spinal nerve blocks include:

  • Peripheral nerve block, which blocks touch and pain sensations in nerves that supply the skin and muscles of the arms, legs, abdomen, groin, trunk, chest, face and scalp
  • Sympathetic nerve block, which blocks pain sensations in nerves that supply involuntary body functions. Examples include nerves that regulate blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and sweating.
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 5, 2013

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Medical References

Interventional Pain Management Including Nerve Blocks and Lesioning. International Association for the Study of Pain. http://www.iasp-pain.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=IASP_Press_Books2&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=1986. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Nerve Blocks. American College of Radiology. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=nerveblock. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Nerve Blocks. University of California San Francisco. http://www.ucsfhealth.org/treatments/nerve_blocks/. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Peripheral Nerve Blocks. University of California Irvine. http://www.anesthesiology.uci.edu/pain/procedures_peripheral.html. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Sympathetic Nerve Blocks for Pain. Johns-Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/orthopaedic/sympathetic_nerve_blocks_for_pain_135,54/. Accessed July 2, 2013.

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