Will I feel pain with a non-spinal nerve block?

Your comfort and relaxation is important to both you and your care team. You may feel discomfort, pinching or pressure when your doctor inserts the needle. You may also feel a mild burning when the doctor injects the medicine. Take a few long, deep breaths to help yourself relax. Tell your doctor if any discomfort does not pass quickly. Also tell you doctor if you feel a sudden jolt of pain because this may mean the needle is too close to a major nerve. 

What are the risks and potential complications of non-spinal nerve blocks?  

Complications after a non-spinal nerve block are not common, but any medical procedure involves risk and potential complications. Complications may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or recovery. Risks and potential complications of a non-spinal nerve block include: 

  • Allergic reaction 
  • Bleeding
  • Delivering the medication to the wrong nerve or into the bloodstream
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking, which is usually temporary
  • Infection
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Nerve injury
  • Numbness, which is usually temporary
  • Spread of the medication to other nerves

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by: 

  • Following activity, exercise and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations 
  • Following instructions after the procedure exactly
  • Informing your doctor if you are nursing or if there is any possibility of pregnancy
  • Keeping all scheduled appointments
  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
  • Taking your medications exactly as directed 
  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies

How do I prepare for my non-spinal nerve block?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your procedure can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for a non-spinal nerve block by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history, allergies, and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners.

Questions to ask your doctor

Having a non-spinal nerve block can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before your procedure and between appointments. 

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointment. Questions can include:

  • Why do I need a non-spinal nerve block? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
  • How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
  • What restrictions will I have after the procedure? When can I return to work and other activities?
  • How will you treat my pain?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home? Will I need a ride home?
  • How should I take my regular medications?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.

What can I expect after my non-spinal nerve block?

Knowing what to expect after a non-spinal nerve block can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible. 

What can I expect after the treatment?

You will go home soon after your non-spinal nerve block. You should arrange for a ride home because you will have numbness and lingering sedation effects. You will need to rest for the day, so it is also a good idea to have someone stay with you. Most people resume normal activities the following day. 

You will return to your see your doctor in about a week. Your doctor may ask you to keep a pain diary between your procedure and your follow-up appointment. Your doctor will evaluate your pain and decide whether another injection is necessary.&