What Are Some Complications of Nerve Blocks?


Quick Answer

Some complications of nerve blocks include bleeding at the injection site, hyperglycemia, itching, rash and weight gain, says WebMD. The patient may also experience extra energy. In rare instances, death can occur.

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Full Answer

Bleeding is a rare complication of a nerve block, says Spine-health. Patients who bleed because of a nerve block usually have an underlying blood condition. Allergic reactions are most often caused when the patient reacts to the contrast material of the X-ray and not to the anesthesia. Infection is also rare, though it does occur.

In some cases, the patient may find that the nerve block makes his pain worse, says Spine-health. He may also experience pain around the injection site. In other very rare cases, the patient is paralyzed because the needle itself damages the spinal cord, or the nerves in the spine are damaged by bleeding or infection. Paralysis can also occur from a blockage if an artery is injected.

Because of these complications, patients who take anticoagulants need to discuss potential nerve blocks with their doctors, claims Spine-health. This is also true of patients who have infections or who are allergic to certain medications.

It is not unusual for patients to feel sore after a nerve block, says Cleveland Clinic. This discomfort usually goes away after a few days.

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