Re: Nerve blocks: how long does pain relief last? Why have a nerve block?
Nerve blocks come in many different fasions. There are, Trigger point injection, Epidural steroid injection, Facet joint injection, Stellate ganglion block, Lumbar sympathetic block, Intercostal nerve block.
A nerve block is usually done by injecting a local anesthetic around the nerve endings to interupt the pain signal. Basically it tells your brain that you are not in pain.
Pain relief can be from 1 day to three months, but a nerve block is usually temporary and used in a pain management program. It is used in conjuction with other pain relief remedies. Some people get really good relief, others it does not work for. I have had Facet injections as well as Epidural injections and they did not work for me. But I have a friend that has them every 3-4 months and give her great relief.
And yes, generally you can still feel the area, it just feels like there is less or no pain there.
As far as risks, anytime you get something injected into your body, there are risks. They are generally minimal, but they can sometimes nick the spinal dura which can leak spinal fluid and give you a spinal headache. Also infections can happen, but most of these are very minimal. I think the biggest risk of side effects is that it won't work for you.
As far as pain when getting them, it usually minimal. They usually give me some Versed (Midazolam) and Fentanyl and you stay awake. Takes just a few minutes.
You won't know if works unless you get one done. Hope this helps. Good luck.