No. If done correctly, a pain block is among the simplest, safest and
most effective treatments for neck or back problems.
Epidural blocks in
the low back are helpful for leg pain. Blocks in the neck help arm pain.
Occasionally, other types of pain are treated by special types of blocks.
A pain block is just a “shot.” Before the block, a pain medication and
some anesthesia are administered. A fine needle is then placed next to the
inflamed nerve or painful area using an x-ray machine. A local anesthetic
and a long acting steroid medicine are then injected.
The pain relieving steroid which is used is not similar to the muscle
building drug abused by some athletes. Instead, it is similar to
cortisone. Much as cortisone cream will ease the inflammation of a rash,
injected steroid will help calm an inflamed and painful nerve.
Most patients have immediate improvement. Relief can be complete and
permanent. When they work, blocks can eliminate the need for back surgery.
Sometimes the pain can come back and up to three blocks are needed.
Although straightforward, blocks should only be done by spine doctors who
specialize in this type of procedure. Pain blocks do not work for