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Intercostal Nerve Block

osteopath holding spine model and talking to woman in consulting room

Intercostal nerve blocks focus on thoracic pain or pain centralized along the upper back. These nerve blocks treat the intercostal nerves when they experience inflammation or pain from chronic conditions such as shingles or postherpetic neuralgia. At Houston Pain And Spine, our team can provide intercostal nerve blocks, a minimally invasive treatment that can provide targeted pain relief. 

How Do Intercostal Nerve Blocks Work? 

The intercostal nerves are located underneath each rib along both sides of the body throughout the middle portion of the spine. These nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system and are vital for voluntary movements throughout the muscles in the body. These nerves provide sensation, and when they become inflamed or irritated, they can cause intense pain throughout the ribs and sides. This condition is called intercostal nerve pain, which various underlying conditions can cause. Some of these conditions include:

  • Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
  • Rib Fractures
  • Post-Thoracotomy Pain Syndrome
  • Intercostal Neuralgia
  • Intercostal Muscle Strain
  • Thoracic Spine Disorders
  • Chest Wall Inflammation
  • Thoracic Radiculopathy

Intercostal nerve blocks work as a steroid injection that provides localized [pain relief by blocking the signals transmitted from the inflamed nerves. This injection interrupts the flow of pain signals to the brain and is performed under fluoroscopic or ultrasound guidance. As a minimally invasive procedure, it allows for quick recovery with minimal discomfort. 

Here is an overview of the process for intercostal nerve block treatment:

  • Preparation: Before the procedure, you will be positioned comfortably, typically lying on your back or side. The skin over the treatment area will be cleaned and sterilized.
  • Local Anesthesia: The skin and underlying tissues around the injection site will be numbed with a local anesthetic. This helps minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
  • Needle Placement: The healthcare provider will insert a thin needle near the affected intercostal nerve using fluoroscopic. These imaging techniques ensure accurate needle placement and help visualize the nerves and surrounding structures.
  • Medication Injection: Once the needle is correctly positioned near the intercostal nerve, a combination of anesthetics, such as lidocaine or bupivacaine, and sometimes a corticosteroid, will be injected. The anesthetics provide immediate pain relief, while the corticosteroid helps reduce inflammation and provide longer-lasting effects.
  • Observation and Recovery: After the injection, you may be monitored for a short period to ensure there are no immediate complications. Once cleared by the healthcare provider, you can rest and recover in a designated area.

You may feel pressure or mild discomfort during the needle insertion, but the local anesthetic dramatically reduces the pain. Following the procedure, you may experience temporary numbness or weakness in the injected area, which will gradually subside.

Receive an Intercostal Nerve Block at Houston Pain And Spine

Contact Houston Pain And Spine today if you’re experiencing thoracic pain or suspect intercostal nerve involvement. Dr. Asif Chaudhry and our dedicated team are committed to providing personalized care and effective solutions for your pain management needs. Call us at 832-436-4040 to schedule a consultation at our Houston, TX, clinic. Let us help you find targeted relief through intercostal nerve block and regain control over your pain, restoring your well-being and quality of life.