Suffering from rib or chest pain? The intercostal nerves are located between your ribs and your chest wall. An intercostal nerve block (also known as a neurolytic block) is an injection placed around the intercostal nerves to reduce the pain and inflammation in the surrounding tissues. Nerve blocks have been invaluable in pain management for many years, drastically reducing potentially traumatic pain by intercepting it at its origin point: the nerves throughout our body that connect back to the brain. A nerve block is, in its simplest form, a very precise and small injection of medication, applied in the surrounding area of a nerve.
When Is an Intercostal Nerve Block Used?
Blocking the intercostal nerves from pain can prevent you from feeling discomfort in your ribs and chest. When appropriate, they will recommend an intercostal nerve block injection, a minimally invasive procedure that:
- Can relieve cancer pain, chest pain, and shingles (herpes zoster) pain.
- It is guided by fluoroscopy — a viewing instrument that uses real-time X-rays — to inject a corticosteroid solution to reduce pain and inflammation.
- An intercostal nerve block can provide pain relief for up to several months.
- When used with opioids to control cancer pain, intercostal nerve blocks allow opioid doses to be reduced.
Follow up is normal after any medical intervention, and in the case of pain management, it’s crucial to encourage a patient to catalog their thoughts and feelings. A pain diary can help a medical professional properly assess any given treatment’s efficacy, including a nerve block. If no complications arise, you’re good to continue living your life normally within a few days, and as long as work isn’t strenuous, you can typically get back to work within a day.
Why Choose PMIR Medical Center?
At PMIR Medical Center, our team of medically trained pain management specialists understands your pain and the most effective way to treat it. We use standards of excellence, state-of-the-art equipment, and innovative procedures to develop customized integrative treatment plans to help you achieve long-term, sustainable pain relief. To learn more about how we can help you return to a pain-free, productive lifestyle, schedule an appointment with a PMIR physician today.