What is an intercostal nerve block?
Intercostal nerve blocks treat pain in the chest and ribs with a steroid injection. They specifically target the intercostal nerves.
Intercostal nerves run along the ribs in the middle portion of the spine (the thoracic spine). One branch of your intercostal nerve travels along the ribs and threads through the intercostal muscles—the small muscles between your ribs.
An intercostal nerve block can be effective in relieving chronic pain without the side effects of pain medications. A single block can result in permanent pain relief.
Intercostal nerve block benefits
Patients suffering from chronic pain that is unresponsive to conservative treatments may find an intercostal nerve block reduces their pain or relieves it completely. Conditions treated with the intercostal nerve block include:
- Neuropathic pain in the chest associated with shingles
- Postoperative pain from chest tube placement or thoracic surgery
- Chronic pain after mastectomy
- Rib fracture pain