Diagnostic Peripheral Nerve Injections

What is a Peripheral Nerve Injection?

A Peripheral nerve injection is used as a diagnostic test to determine if a specific peripheral nerve is the source of pain. If the peripheral nerve root block (PNRB) is successful in pain reduction and symptom relief, then an exact nerve can be identified as the pain source.

What Are The Benefits?

Diagnostic peripheral nerve injections offer a concrete answer. If a patient experiences pain relief post-procedure, the doctor will be able to correctly diagnose the source of the pain. With this knowledge, a treatment plan can be implemented.

Beyond the diagnostic aspect, patients will directly benefit from the procedure. The anesthetic injections will decrease pain, which can allow for daily activities to be completed with greater ease. This also provides the opportunity for physical therapy and light exercise to strengthen the back.

What happens during a peripheral nerve injection procedure?

  1. A small IV may be placed in the hand or arm for pain and anxiety relief
  2. The skin at the injection site is cleaned
  3. A local anesthetic is injected, which can cause the patient to feel slight stinging or burning
  4. The physician will use X-ray guidance to accurately place the needle into the nerve for the injection of combined anesthetic and steroid medication

What to expect post-procedure

Immediately Following the PNRB: The patient will be instructed to remain in a lying position. After about 30-60 minutes, blood pressure and light activity will be monitored. The patient may experience tingling, tenderness, or itchiness at the injection site. Serious reactions and infections are rare.

Days/Weeks After: Pain may worsen in the days following the procedure – this is normal. The local anesthetic will wear off and the injected medication will kick in about 5 days post-procedure. If a patient experiences no pain reduction in the following weeks, a doctor will be able to conclude that the specific peripheral nerve targeted was not the pain source.