5 Things You Need to Know About Nerve Blocks
What is a Nerve Block?
A nerve block procedure is a treatment regimen where a mediaction is injected just below the myelin sheath of the nerve root. The drug used is a local anesthetics, which numb the area and relieve pain temporarily.
What are Nerve Blocks used for?
Nerve blocks are mainly used for:
- To diagnose the source of pain. Fluoroscopic examination during the procedure reveals the medication’s travel pathway and its target, which identifies the nerve ending(s) responsible for causing pain.
- To provide temporary relief for chronic pain , which can last up to a couple of months. Combined with steroids, it stays in the individual’s system for months once injected, and continues to alleviate pain.
Tackling the fear of procedure
Nerve blocks are a near painless procedure that takes 20-30 minutes to complete. Individuals are required to stay awake for the length of the process as they need to report if they feel any sudden increase in pain during the procedure. The entire procedure consists of only two injections.
The first injection involves injecting the contrast material into the person to track the medication pathway. The second injection releases the drug itself in the nerve sheath, which provides instant relief.
How to deal with post procedure soreness?
If steroids are used, that medication take 3-5 days to take effect, many people report soreness following the procedure. Doctors may prescribe medication which can alleviate the increased pain sensation until the steroids take effect.
Every individual responds differently
Even though the average length of steroid response time is 3 days, the steroids may begin to act sooner in a person's body, and may not be effective in another individual's until 5 days later. This incongruence has nothing to do with the procedure or the quality of drugs used but instead varies from person to person.
Medical history and informed injection frequency
If the procedure is successful and alleviates pain, it may be repeated for the individual, once the chronic pain starts re-emerging. The procedure is not too risky so it can be repeated many times in one’s lifetime, but experts agree not to perform the procedure, with steroids, more than three times in one year.