A peripheral nerve block is an injection of regional anesthesia around a group of nerves in order to numb the area and block the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. Peripheral nerve blocks may be used for diagnostic purposes, or to treat severe or long-term pain that stems from one of a variety of different nerves, including the suprascapular, occipital, ilioinguinal, intercostal, supratrochlear, supraorbital, mental, and genitofemoral nerves.

If medication is not effective in providing pain relief caused by nerve damage, deterioration or compression, a nerve block may be used to help manage symptoms. Depending on how effective the treatment is, your doctor may suggest further injections for more long-term results pain management.

Peripheral nerve blocks may also be used during surgery to reduce the risk of nausea, drowsiness, and post-surgical pain. They have been found to be effective for pain relief when used for operations such as knee surgery, shoulder surgery, ankle surgery, wrist surgery, and arm and hand surgeries.


Peripheral nerve block procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. For the procedure, an IV with medication to relax may be inserted in the patient’s arm. The vital signs will be monitored continuously.

After the area where the needle will be inserted is cleaned and numbed. The doctor may use real-time X-ray, an ultrasound, or a nerve stimulator to find the right nerves. Anesthesia medication will then be injected into the tissues near the nerves. A tingling sensation may be felt before the area becomes numb.