Accessory Nerve Block Injections

The spinal accessory nerve runs from the back of the head, down the neck, and into the shoulder blades; it controls the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius neck muscles. When this nerve is damaged or impinged, it can cause the function of the nerve to deteriorate and affect the mobility of the shoulder girdle. The neck muscles supplied by the accessory nerve are responsible for the rotation and tilting of the head, flexion of the neck, and elevation of the shoulders; damage to the nerve can affect each of these movements to varying degrees. The most common cause of accessory nerve damage or injury is previous surgery in the area of the nerve itself. For patients who are not candidates for further surgery to correct the accessory nerve injury, nerve block injections can alleviate or minimize the pain associated with the damage.

Nerve Block injections involve injection of a numbing solution into a selective nerve in an attempt to treat and manage pain. The injection includes a steroid (to reduce inflammation) and lidocaine (to reduce pain).

A compressed or inflamed nerve can create shooting pain. Nerve block injections are used to effectively “turn off” such nerves, and thus reduce any associated inflammation. The effect of these injections lasts between one and two weeks and can be repeated as required.



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