How a Suprascapular Nerve Block Procedure Can Help to Relieve Your Shoulder Pain

Dr. Dimitrios Lambrou Jan 30, 2017

If you play basketball or football, workout every day, or simply do a lot of daily activities that require you to use your upper body, you might have an idea of how hard it could be to do these things if you have a shoulder injury or pain. In fact, we are here at Northeast Spine & Sports Medicine know that if you are suffering from shoulder pain, that it’s likely you’re already doing what you can (resting, using cold and hot compresses, taking over-the-counter medicines, etc.) to ease your pain. However, what if these methods aren't providing you with the pain relief you need? Well, one procedure you can consider to help you find the relief you’re looking for is a suprascapular nerve block.

What's a suprascapular nerve block? 

A suprascapular nerve block is a procedure that’s performed on patients who want to ease the discomfort and pain they’re feeling in their shoulder joints. Specifically, this outpatient procedure works to prohibit the suprascapular nerve (one of the many nerves that allow you to feel sensations in your shoulder) from sending you pain sensations. The procedure itself typically involves injecting a local anesthetic, or a combination of a steroid and a local anesthetic into the painful shoulder joint.

How can you find out if a suprascapular nerve block is right for you?

If you suffer from chronic pain or discomfort in your shoulder, bursitis, arthritis, or suprascapular nerve entrapment, a suprascapular nerve block may be right for you. However, after you meet with your physician, describe your symptoms and pain relief goals in detail, he or she will be able to tell you if the injection will offer you the relief you want.

What should you expect if you receive the injection?

Your shoulder will be cleaned and sterilized, and then the injection site will be numbed. Once you’re fully numbed, the physician will use a fluoroscope (a special type of X-ray device) to help him or her guide a needle to the correct position in your suprascapular nerve. You should also expect the physician to inject a contrast dye to confirm the needle is in the proper place. Once the needle is in the correct spot, the physician will then inject you with the actual pain solution. Lastly, the procedure typically takes no more than 15 minutes, and you can leave after a brief period of rest.

When should you expect to find relief?

Extended pain relief usually begins within two to seven days after the procedure, and the results are temporary.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a suprascapular nerve block procedure can help to provide you with shoulder pain relief, please reach out to us here at the Northeast Spine & Sports Medicine. To make an appointment with one our physicians to find out if this procedure is right for you, please also feel free to Request an Appointment online.