Nerve blocks can reduce or eliminate pain in an area supplied by a particular nerve or network of nerves. They work by stopping the transmission of nerve impulses. Peripheral nerve blocks are performed quite commonly to alleviate pain in a limited area, such as arm or leg.
Nerve block procedures are used to break the cycle of chronic pain which patients experience. The pain-free time can also be used to perform physical therapy, which would not be possible if pain were present.
Acute pain can also be treated with a targeted blockade, such as an intercostal block for fractured ribs or a stellate ganglion block (GLOA-ganglion local opioid analgesia) for trigeminal neuralgia.
Most invasive blocking procedures - such as sympathetic and somatic nerve blocks, neuraxial blocks and epidural or spinal blocks - are performed in a hospital setting. Invasive procedures such as these should only be performed by a well-trained and experienced physician.
Nerve blocks have a wide range of application in pain therapy and can be implemented for diagnostic, prognostic, prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.
They produce a selective and specific effect which begins to work quickly and whose duration is calculable.
Their effect can be strengthened and extended through repeated treatments.