What are nerve blocks and similar injections used for?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Nerve block injections block pain signals to the brain. The nerve block is injected at the root of the nerves that are causing the pain, often in the spine. Injections are aimed at pain in a specific part of the body. Some injections can be done in a doctor's office. Doctors may use an x-ray to guide the placement of the injection.

Many drugs are used in nerve block injections. Often, injections contain 2 or more drugs. Local anesthetics (pain-relievers), such as lidocaine, are the most common ones. Corticosteroids may be used if inflammation is causing the pain. Opioids, such as morphine, are sometimes injected into the space around the spinal cord. The drug ziconotide (Prialt) may also be given this way.

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