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Chest pain, be it after surgery or when your body is recovering from shingles or a rib injury, can feel like a hindrance to healing. Thankfully, there’s a simple procedure that can address this specific pain.
An intercostal nerve block is a pain relief procedure done to treat chest pain caused by shingles, surgical incisions, and injuries such as rib fractures. A steroid medication is injected under the rib to decrease inflammation.This can also identify the source of chest pain.
The patient lies on their stomach or on their side (whichever position does not cause pain), and receives IV sedation. The doctor uses an antiseptic to clean the part of the skin to be injected. The doctor will then inject a local anesthetic using a thin needle. This might feel mildly unpleasant.
Afterward, the doctor will use a second needle and an x-ray to inject the steroid medication into the affected area. The entire process takes around 30 minutes.
Immediately after the procedure, the chest pain may be gone or much less painful. The patient is held in the recovery room for a short observation period to check for complications. The risk of infection, nerve damage, bleeding, or a collapsed lung is very low.
Doctors advise patients to avoid strenuous physical activities and driving for 24 hours after the treatment. Patients can go back to work unless the job requires rigorous movement. Diet and other medications shouldn’t be affected.
You may want to get an intercostal nerve block if you experience chest pain from postherpetic shingle neuralgia. Contact an expert pain management doctor at Torrance Pain Institute to schedule an intercostal nerve block in Torrance.