When pain hits, we look for relief. Nerve blocks are one way to make the pain go away.
What is a Nerve Block?
Nerve blocks are injections to help decrease inflammation and disrupt the signal for pain along a nerve. Nerve blocks can help a damaged nerve heal, identify a source or pain, and provide temporary pain relief. You can repeat a nerve block several times a year.
An anesthetic and/or anti-inflammatory medication goes into the nerve or nerve group via an injection to turn off the pain signals. The person administering the nerve block uses a fluoroscope or other instrument to guide the needles to the proper location.
Some people feel pain relief almost immediately, others need several injections. If the pain isn’t related to a nerve, nerve blocks might not help relieve the pain at all.
Why Use a Nerve Block?
Doctors might use a nerve block for several reasons.
- Therapeutic Nerve Block: These blocks are to treat pain and provide temporary relief.
- Diagnostic Nerve Block: Doctors use this to try to determine where pain originates. The injection allows medical professionals to see how the nerve block impacts the pain and can, therefore, pinpoint its location.
- Prognostic Nerve Block: This usage of a nerve block helps a doctor predict if a more permanent treatment like surgery would be a successful way to treat pain.
- Preemptive Nerve Block: These are to prevent subsequent pain from an upcoming procedure.
Nerve blocks might help relieve pain in many parts of the body including the face, jaw, neck, back, arms, and legs.
Before, During, and After a Nerve Block
Patients usually do not need to do anything special to prepare for a nerve block but check with your doctor before your appointment to make sure.
During the procedure, a doctor will clean and numb the area of the injection. Then they will use a small needle to help determine the proper placement of the injection. The doctor might also use imaging guidance like a fluoroscopy or computed tomography (CT). Then the medication goes into the nerve with a syringe.
After the procedure, the patient will rest for a period to make sure there are no unexpected side effects.
There are some risks to nerve blocks including soreness and bleeding at the injection site, a rash or itching. There is also a risk of infection or nerve damage.
The physicians at B3 Medical often recommend nerve blocks to their patients as part of a treatment plan. They are one of the many non-surgical treatment options we use to help patients relieve their pain. Contact us today for an appointment.