The Intercostal nerves travel along the ribs from back of the spine around to the breastbone. Not only do these nerves help maintain the expansion of our chest wall when breathing, but they serve a sensory role which may unfortunately include sensations of discomfort when these nerves suffer injury. Intercostal pain can be caused by various conditions, including trauma, post-operative conditions, and following shingles. An intercostal nerve block can help to alleviate pain by blocking pain signals that travel through these nerves
An intercostal nerve block is an outpatient procedure that takes just minutes to complete. It is commonly performed while lying on one’s side or in the prone position. Under live x-ray, a small needle is advanced along the corresponding rib and anti-inflammatory medication is injected. Patients are able to resume normal activity following the procedure, and pain relief is usually immediate.