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Diagnostic and Peripheral Nerve Blocks

We aim to make your visit as informative as possible. However, if you have any further questions regarding the information on this page or your treatment please telephone us on (01604) 545065 Monday to Friday between the hours of 0800 and 1700. Outside of these hours, please leave a message on the answerphone. One of our staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

This Clinic aims to give you various means to reduce pain and other symptoms and plan your life accordingly. Regular use of other pain relief should be continued, especially the exercise programme.


When peripheral tissues are inflamed or irritated, the nerves carry the painful information to the spinal cord and brain. These nerves can be blocked with local anaesthetic and/or steroid injections. This may at times, abolish pain for a short period. Steroids can reduce your pain and improve your mobility for a period of weeks or months. Depending on the duration of pain relief, and improvement, this procedure can either be repeated or radio frequency denervation.


Before the procedure

  • Please bring a list of all current medication. Specifically let us know if you are on Warfarin, Heparin, Clopidogrel or Aspirin.
  • Continue taking all your usual medication on treatment day unless advised to omit something by the Pain Clinic.
  • If there is any possibility you may be pregnant please inform the doctor or nurse.
  • You will have this treatment as an outpatient, you will need to stay between two to three hours.
  • Basic checks like blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation and simple questions related to medications and allergy will be asked.


The procedure

  • The procedure may be carried out under x-ray screening or ultrasound for precision injection in some of the more complicated blocks. However, there are a number of simple blocks, which do not require x-ray or ultrasound.
  • Under local anaesthetic, the needles will be placed into position. You may feel a pushing sensation or some discomfort at this stage. You will be encouraged to use Entonox, commonly called gas and air, to reduce the pain of the needle, in case of back injections.
  • After confirming the correct position of the needle, local anaesthetic and steroid may be injected.


Following the injection

After the procedure, you will be observed in the recovery room. When you are stable you will be able to go home. Once home you will need to rest. You will need a responsible adult to look after you for the rest of the day.


Possible side effects and risks

Although this procedure is done under x-ray, there may be some complications like, infection, temporary numbness of legs, bleeding and nerve injury.


After the procedure

  • You may experience some pain at the site of the procedure or experience muscular spasms.
  • Take your regular painkillers as usual.
  • Try to keep on the move and active around the house but do not do anything too strenuous.
  • As your pain decreases you should try to gradually increase your exercise.
  • When you have adequate pain relief, you need to start reducing the pain medications gradually, aiming to stop them completely.
  • If you experience any untoward side effects, contact the clinic for advice.
  • Try not to overdo things on a good day so that you end up paying for it with more pain the following day.



A follow-up appointment may not always be needed. But you have been given a follow-up questionnaire form to be filled and sent to us after 8 weeks, for action thereafter. If you do not get adequate pain relief after the procedure, a senior nurse may contact you to discuss your options, including a follow-up appointment.


Contact details

Pain Management Clinic is open on all the days of the week from 08:00 -17:00.

 Telephone number: (01604) 545065.
Fax (01604) 544688.


Other information

Northampton General Hospital operates a smoke-free policy. This means that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the Trust site, this includes all buildings, grounds and car parks. Leaflets, information, advice and support on giving up smoking and on nicotine replacement therapy are available from the local Stop Smoking helpline on 0845 6013116, the free national helpline on 0300 123 1044, email: and pharmacies.


Car parking at Northampton General Hospital is extremely limited and it is essential to arrive early, allowing ample time for parking. You may find it more convenient to be dropped off and collected.


This information can be provided in other languages and formats upon request including Braille, audio cassette and CD. Please contact (01604) 523442 or the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on (01604) 545784, email:


Updated February 2021


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