An Intercostal Nerve Block helps relieve chronic pain due to Shingles infection (or herpes zoster), or a surgical incision in the rib area.
Intercostal nerve blocks are used to diagnose and/or treat this pain that originates in the intercostal nerve. These nerves are located just under each rib, and can get inflamed or irritated.
Who may Benefit from an Intercostal Nerve Block?
Someone experiencing pain, that has possibly just started, around the chest area – Most likely caused by Shingles but also possibly due to a surgical incision.
What Happens during an Intercostal Nerve Block Treatment?
First, we will cover any questions you may still have regarding the treatment. Then, we will move you onto the side that is not experiencing pain, and clean the area that will be treated. A local anesthetic will be applied to the area. Then, using our Fluoroscopy machine, Dr. Henriquez will guide the needle to the nerve.
First, a numbing medication such as lidocaine will be injected. The result should be immediate relief of up to 80% of the pain. This is used to diagnose that the area can be treated for pain. Next, a steroid (cortisone) will be injected to the nerve to inhibit pain signals from getting to the brain. This will bring more lasting relief.
How Long can you Expect Relief For?
After treatment, most patients experience immediate relief. But do not be alarmed if the pain returns once the lidocaine wears off. It takes up to three days for the steroid to take full effect. The length of pain relief varies, but may last up to several months. When the pain returns, we can use the same treatment again to bring relief.
Risks from this type of nerve block are very low. We use our ultrasound guidance machines to make certain we are injecting into the correct area with precision. The entire treatment only takes 20 or 30 minutes and can be done right in our office. There may be some numbing to expect at the injection site following the treatment.
Call us so we can set up an appointment to discuss your options for chronic pain treatment. Dr Henriquez strives to provide an approach for personal and compassionate care.
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