According to Healthline, A nerve block, or neural blockade, is a method of producing anesthesia — a loss of feeling used to prevent or control pain. Nerve blocks can be surgical or nonsurgical.

Nonsurgical nerve blocks involve injection of a medication around a specific nerve or a bundle of nerves. The medication prevents the nerves’ impulses from reaching the central nervous system (CNS) and making you feel pain. Instead, that part of your body will feel numb, or you might feel a “pins and needles” sensation.

Surgical nerve blocks involve deliberately cutting or destroying specific nerves to prevent them from sending out impulses to the CNS.

When is a Nerve Block used?

Nerve blocks are most commonly used to prevent or control pain. A nerve block is more effective than medications given through an intravenous (IV) line. Your doctor may want to use a nerve block to manage the following types of pain:

  • pain from labor and childbirth
  • pain before, during, and after a surgery, such as a joint or knee replacement
  • cancer-related pain
  • arthritis pain
  • low back pain or sciatica
  • migraine
  • chronic regional pain syndrome
  • neck pain caused by herniated disks

Types of Nerve Blocks

Pain originating from different areas of the body require different nerve blocks. Examples include:

Upper extremity (brachial plexus) nerve blocks

  • interscalene (shoulder, clavicle, or upper arm)
  • supraclavicular (upper arm)
  • infraclavicular (elbow and below)

Facial nerve blocks

  • trigeminal (face)
  • ophthalmic (eyelids and scalp)
  • supraorbital (forehead)
  • maxillary (upper jaw)
  • sphenopalatine (nose and palate)

Neck and back nerve blocks

  • cervical epidural (neck)
  • thoracic epidural (upper back and ribs)
  • lumbar epidural (lower back and buttocks)

Chest and abdominal nerve blocks

  • paravertebral (chest and abdomen)
  • intercostal (chest/rib)
  • transversus abdominis plane (lower abdomen)

Lower extremity nerve blocks

  • hypogastric plexus (pelvic region)
  • lumbar plexus (front of the leg, including the thigh, knee, and the saphenous below the knee)
  • femoral (the entire anterior thigh, most of the femur and knee joint, and part of the hip joint, but not the back of the knee — often used for a knee replacement surgery)
  • sciatic nerve (back of the leg, lower leg, ankle, and foot), which includes popliteal nerve blocks (below the knee)

There are many different options for pain relief. While your doctor will often strongly advise one option over another, in some cases you’ll have a choice between different types of anesthetics, including a nerve block. Speak to your doctor to learn more about the pros and cons of each pain management option. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will work together with you to determine if a nerve block will provide the best anesthetic conditions with the least side effects for your particular situation. Call Neurology Consultants of Nebraska today to set your appointment! (402) 552-2650