Suprascapular nerve blocks are performed for patients suffering from arthritis or bursitis of the shoulder joint. This condition may occur due to injury of the suprascapular nerve, which controls the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles of the shoulder. Shoulder pain may be caused by an irritated, inflamed, and possibly entrapped nerve.
The suprascapular nerve block injection consists of a diagnostic injection as well as a therapeutic injection for long-term pain relief. The diagnostic injection is to confirm the origin and source of the pain and an anesthetic solution is administered directly to the nerve under image guidance (i.e. fluoroscopy, ultrasound). If the pain associated with the shoulder temporarily subsides after the diagnostic injection then the suprascapular nerve is indicated as the source of the pain.
The steroid solution has both healing and anti-inflammatory effects and improvement of the shoulder pain will be controlled. Long-term benefits from this injection are dependent upon a number of factors, including the extent of the injury and/or the overall condition of the nerve. Typically, if the injury is trauma related then the prognosis for longer-term pain relief is greater. If the pain is a result of a degenerative disorder then the term of pain relief is variable.