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What kind of nerve block injections are given?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

A celiac plexus block is used to relieve pain from chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or other chronic pain in the abdomen that continues despite drug treatment. The injection is placed in the mid-back in front of the spine, in a group of nerves called the celiac plexus. A short-acting injection is often used first. If it helps with pain, a more long-lasting injection can be given.

Other common targets of nerve blocks include the stellate ganglion in the neck, the intercostal nerve in the area of the ribs, and the occipital nerve in the back of the neck and head.

Trigger point injections involve inserting needles into tender spots in the muscle, also called trigger points. Drugs used in these injections include local pain-relievers, corticosteroids, and botulinum toxin. A technique called dry needling may also be used, which means that no drugs are injected. The goal of injections is to relieve pain and help people stretch and exercise the affected muscles. More research is needed to be sure these injections are effective.

Epidural steroid injections are used for inflammation in or near the spine that causes pain in the leg, neck, arm, or hand. An example of this is pain caused by a herniated spinal disk. A corticosteroid, usually with a local pain-reliever, is injected into the space around the spinal cord near the inflammation. Research suggests that about 50% of people who get epidural steroids for this kind of pain get relief. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

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