What Are Cluneal Nerve Blocks?

medial cluneal nervesTo better understand cluneal nerve blocks, it is important to understand the cluneal nerve. This nerve cluster is at the upper portion of the buttocks and is the termination of the lumbar nerves at the base of the spine.

When these nerves are inflamed, the pain will be centralized in the lower back and can radiate down the leg. The area above the buttocks will be tender to the touch but the area below will have decreased sensation.

Cluneal nerve blocks are intended to relieve chronic pain experienced due to the inflammation of these nerves. After attempting less invasive treatment such as NSAID therapy and steroids, this may be the best solution for an individual suffering from chronic pain in the cluneal nerve region.

Types of Cluneal Nerve Blocks

A nerve block is a way to treat the chronic pain by injecting a local anesthetic, most commonly lidocaine, which temporarily causes the nerve to stop working and can provide some respite from chronic pain. A nerve block can be used by your doctor to try to isolate the cause of your pain as well.

There are risks associated with the use of cluneal nerve blocks. It can cause permanent damage of the nerves, which will be slow to regenerate. If something were to go wrong with the procedure, you could experience paralysis of the muscles and lasting numbness. Nerve blocks can, in some rare cases, irritate the nerve and increase the pain.

Conditions Related to Cluneal Nerve Blocks

According to the Global Burden of Disease in 2010, back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. An astonishing one half of all people in the U.S. admit to experiencing back pain at some time. It is important to determine if the pain is acute or has become chronic and seek the proper treatment.

Back pain costs people in the U.S. more than $50 billion dollars a year. Some chronic back pain is caused by unexpected injuries such as bending to pick something off of the ground. In fact, most chronic back pain is not caused by natural factors such as arthritis, broken bones, or cancer.

Many therapies exist to treat chronic back pain, including cluneal nerve blocks, which can be used for both diagnostic and treatment purposes.

superior cluneal nervesIn addition to treatments like cluneal nerve blocks, there are other things you can to do help alleviate your chronic back pain symptoms. These include healthy eating, stretching before physical activities, maintaining good posture, wearing comfortable shoes, sleeping on the proper mattress, lifting objects correctly using your knees, not smoking, and using ergonomics to improve your workspace.


It is important to recognize that chronic pain is typically defined as any pain lasting longer than three months. It will also affect additional functions and your ability to maintain a healthy mental perspective. Seeking treatment is important to restore your quality of life.

If you believe you are experiencing pain caused by inflammation of your cluneal nerve, contact an expert in your area to schedule a consultation. A doctor who specializes in chronic pain management can work with you to determine the best solution for your specific pain profile. They may begin with a less invasive treatment and, if that does not work, a cluneal nerve block may be recommended.


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