An intercostal nerve block is the injection used to relieve chest pain due to a herpes zoster infection or shingles or a surgical incision. Intercostal nerves are situated below each rib. As one of these nerves or tissue which surrounds it gets irritated or inflamed, it will produce pain. A steroid medication and local anesthetic taken into the rib can be helpful to eliminate the inflammation and remove the pain. It is used to identify the real source of pain. Intercostal nerve block is a treatment, which is used to treat pain in the chest and the areas of upper abdomen.
The process is carried out as
- An intercostal nerve block can also be performed in conjunction with chest and abdominal surgery, or it can be an outpatient treatment on its own.
- The patient is kept in a position to allow for comfortable access to the injection site and this treatment is performed with the patients sitting, lying on their sides or lying on the stomach, the patient is kept awake during all the steps of treatment.
- Local anesthetic is used to numb the area of the nerve block injection, and patient is kept still because movement while treatment can make nerve block difficult to be operated.
- Fluoroscope supports doctor to confirm the correct placement of the needle, and once accurate placement of needle is done, then the nerve block injection is entered.
- A successful block is identified by pain relief experienced by patient.
- During the treatment, one nerve site may be blocked, or the injection might be applied at different sites along with nerve.
Am I a Candidate?
An intercostal nerve block is right for you if you are going through chest pain, specifically because of shingles or surgical incision. Consultation with doctor will help more in this regard.
How long will this procedure take?
Intercostal nerve block is a short outpatient treatment. This treatment completes within 30 minutes and you may leave for home on the same day.
How long will it take to recover?
Do not drive or do activity which can harm your health till 24 hours after your treatment is done. You can resume your daily life next day.
Never block works as a test and it is also possible treatment for pain. If the block helps in eliminating the pain, then doctor may explore the role of the intercostal nerve in the patient’s condition.