Nerve Blocks for Pain Management
Republic Pain Specialists has the experience, training, and expertise needed to know when to recommend a nerve block, how to proceed, and what pain relief should look like.
About Nerve Blocks
A nerve block is almost exactly what it sounds like. By isolating the source of pain to a nerve or a portion of the spinal column, medical providers block all feeling or dull pain by injecting the area with medicine. The nerves act as complex roads in your body, transferring messages and information to organs, bones, and muscle groups. These messages include messages about pain, trigger a response from the brain. By halting the transfer of these messages, pain can be relieved. The most well-known nerve block is an epidural, commonly used to assist laboring mothers from feeling the pain of childbirth. A nerve block can also relieve inflammation in some cases.
The Nerve Block Process
The method of nerve block varies greatly in regards to what is needed by the patient. In most cases, a localized anesthetic would be applied to numb the skin. Once that has taken effect, medicine is injected in one of several places, specifically chosen to target the nerve associated with the pain the patient is feeling. This may be done with or without guided ultrasound to give extra precision for the person administrating the block.
What do Nerve Blocks Treat?
Discussing nerve blocks is a great way to explain why looking at multiple pain relief options is so important. When we decide to offer a nerve block or a series of nerve blocks for a patient, we understand that our method is merely cutting the message that pain is present. This method doesn’t actually treat an underlying cause of pain. If we felt we could relieve pain by treating the actual source we would be better serving our patients in the long run. Some of the instances where a nerve block may be considered, outside of surgery, are in relieving some of the pain and inflammation from arthritis, in patients with chronic migraines, for patients with pain triggered from cancer while they are undergoing treatment or a number of other types of pain.
Recovery time varies widely depending on the type and the patient. Some nerve blocks begin to wear off immediately and pain or feeling returns shortly. Others feel the effects on a longer-term, especially in regards to inflammation. According to Columbia Neurology, nerve blocks “can also offer longer-term relief, because some injections reduce irritation to the nerves and let them heal.” Each patient would benefit from recording their response to the nerve block to communicate with our team for a more effective treatment each time. Additionally, by discussing what your needs are, in regards to treating chronic or short-term pain, we adjust how we approached the nerve block from the initial time of treatment.
Nerve Blocks at Republic Pain Specialists
At Republic Pain Specialists we are passionate about treating pain without the use of narcotics. Nerve blocks are an effective and safe way to treat chronic pain and can provide much-needed relief. The different types of pain that you experience can often be tied to specific nerves and with ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance, we can very precisely target those nerves and block the pain. Shoulder pain may be removed with injections of the suprascapular and axillary nerves. Hip pain can be removed by injecting the femoral and obturator nerves. Knee pain? Removed by injecting various genicular nerves.
The first step during a nerve block is to do a simple diagnostic or test injection with a local anesthetic. This will confirm and show us and the patient that blocking that particular nerve will provide relief. We then follow-up a day or two later with either Pulsed RFA (Radiofrequency Ablations) or Standard RFA if the patient is looking for long-term pain relieft.
When Should Nerve Blocks be Used?
Nerve blocks can be done prior to a total knee/hip/shoulder replacement and can reduce and in some cases eliminate the pain of surgery and recovery. Less pain during recovery leads to improved rehab and reduced recovery time!
Nerve blocks are also a great option if the patient is too young or too old for an operation, if they are waiting on a replacement surgery, need to meet specific weight goals before surgery, already had surgery and still have pain, or if they are nervous about the idea of an operation.
We know the debilitating effect pain can have on your life and we are equipped to help. Come see us or contact us today.
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