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Intercostal Nerve Blocksin Phoenix, AZ

Conditions treated

Intercostal nerve blocks are a pain management tool for conditions, such as:

  • Herpes zoster infection or shingles
  • Surgical incision
  • Breast surgery
  • Rib fractures

Benefits of Intercostal Nerve Blocks

  • Provides pain relief
  • Can help diagnose chest pain
  • Short recovery period

Procedure

Before receiving Intercostal Nerve Blocks Phoenix pain experts at The Pain Experts of Arizona may ask you to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), immunosuppressant medication, and blood thinners to reduce your risk of serious complications or infections. If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options. Your healthcare professional may ask you not to eat or drink several hours before the procedure. This procedure cannot be performed if the patient has an active infection or symptoms of a cold, flu, or similar malady. If you experience these symptoms on the day of the procedure, you will need to reschedule your nerve block. 

During the procedure, the healthcare professional performing the procedure will have you lie on the examination table on the side opposite your chest pain. They will administer anesthesia through an IV to help you relax. The physician will then sanitize the area of skin near the ribs before injecting a local anesthetic into that area. Using x-ray guidance and contrast dye, they will then inject medicine into the body. If the intercostal nerve block is for therapeutic purposes, they will inject a corticosteroid. If it is for diagnostic purposes, they will inject a local anesthetic or numbing agent. 

The procedure lasts less than thirty minutes. Afterward, Phoenix intercostal nerve blocks patients will remain in an observation room until the general anesthesia wears off to ensure no immediate complications or reactions occur.

Recovery after Intercostal Nerve Blocks

Once discharged, you will be unable to drive or perform any rigorous activity for the remainder of the day. You will need someone else to drive you home from your procedure. You cannot take a bath or soak in water for 24 hours after the injection. Your healthcare professional will recommend relaxing for the remainder of the day before returning to your normal activities.

You may experience an increase in chest or rib pain at the injection site, but this pain should dissipate within 48-72 hours. If the pain becomes intolerable, you can take over-the-counter pain medicine or apply an ice compress.

The onset of pain relief and its duration varies greatly among patients. Some patients report feeling immediate pain relief, while others feel relief after several days. Intercostal nerve blocks used for diagnostic reasons should provide pain relief within the same day, while therapeutic intercostal nerve blocks may take up to ten days to provide pain relief. Your pain relief may last several weeks or several months. If these nerve blocks successfully relieve your chest or rib pain, your healthcare professional may suggest adding periodic nerve blocks to your routine treatment regimen. 

Risk

While intercostal nerve blocks are generally safe procedures, there remains a chance for complications to arise. Risks for this procedure include:

  • Infection, bleeding, bruising, and soreness at the injection site
  • Collapsed lung
  • Nerve damage
  • Allergic reaction to steroids or anesthesia 
  • Elevated blood sugar for those living with diabetes

The Pain Experts of Arizona was founded to bring the highest level of care in a state-of-the-art setting that emphasizes the belief of treating our patients with the same respect, compassion, and dedication we would treat our own friends and family.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back on your way to an active life without the limitations of chronic pain. From our Phoenix office, The Pain Experts of Arizona, serves pain management patients in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and the entire Phoenix area.