Intercostal nerve blocks are simple to perform and useful for pain management either as the primary intervention or as adjuncts. They are useful for pain in the chest wall and upper abdomen
An intercostal nerve block is an injection of medication that helps relieve pain in the chest area caused by a herpes zoster infection (or “shingles”) or a surgical incision.
Intercostal nerves are located under each rib. When one of these nerves or the tissue around it gets irritated or inflamed, it can cause pain. A steroid medication and local anesthetic injected under the rib can help reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain.
When you arrive at Apex in Chandler for your nerve block procedure, first, you’ll be given an intravenous medication to relax you. Then, you’ll lie on your side — the one not causing pain.
The doctor will use antiseptic to clean an area of skin near your ribs. Then he or she will:
- Insert a thin needle under your rib and inject anesthetic
- Use x-ray guidance to insert a second needle and inject a steroid pain medication
Usually, the procedure takes less than 25 minutes, and you can go home the same day.
The immediate effect is usually from the local anesthetic injected. This wears off in a couple hours. The steroid starts working in about 2 to 4 days and its effect can last for several days to months.
It is not easy to predict how helpful intercostal nerve blocks will be. However many patients see a major decrease in pain after the procedure. How long the pain relief lasts is different for each patient. For some, the relief lasts several months. If the treatment works for you, you can have periodic injections to stay pain-free.
Some patients report pain relief immediately after the injection, but the pain may return a few hours later as the anesthetic wears off. Longer term relief usually begins in two to three days, once the steroid begins to work.
The risk of complication from an intercostal nerve block is very low. However, there could be bruising or soreness at the injection site. Speak with your Apex Pain Doctor to discuss all risks and side effects.
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At Apex Pain Specialists in Chandler, AZ, we provide our patients with the most recent technological advancements available for treating orthopedic injuries and conditions. Our prp and stem cell therapy procedures provides treatment to repair damaged cartilage, restore function, eliminate hip, shoulder, back and knee pain and to prevent further joint destruction.
and SC Injections are virtually painless and is performed under local anesthesia. It requires little to no downtime and is effective, fast and safe.