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Pain Research and Management
Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 93-100
Neurology and Chronic Pain

Neural Blockade in the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Pain: An Overview

Ian Gilron

Pain and Neurosensory Mechanisms Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Local anesthetic and neurolytic nerve blocks have been used for over a century in the evaluation and management of chronic pain, despite a the dearth of evidence supporting their application. This article provides a general overview of the physiology and pharmacology of nerve blocks and suggests how they may affect pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic pain. Following a discussion of the rationale, clinical application and potential complications of nerve blocks, existing evidence of efficacy is reviewed. Further research evaluating mechanisms and efficacy of nerve blocks is vital to define their role in chronic pain management.