What You Need to Know About Epidural Nerve Blocks

Source: Mayo Clinic

What is meant by an epidural nerve block?

An epidural nerve block is a steroid injection that is injected into the epidural space of the spinal column. To be on the safer side, doctors nowadays apply it by the help of an X-ray known as a fluoroscopic guidance.

Local anesthetic and corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication tends to be delivered into a person's epidural space to help shrink the swelling around nerve roots, relieving pressure and pain.

Epidural nerve block has become advanced with regards to anesthesia and analgesia. Individuals are able to control their pain with patient-controlled epidural analgesia.

A stepwise approach

When considering epidural nerve block for a case, clinicians should follow a stepwise approach.

First, an accurate diagnosis must be made by obtaining a pertinent neurological history, examination, and performing the appropriate diagnostic confirmatory tests. In the ever-expanding field of pain management, epidural injections of pain medications like steroids play a major role in chronic pain management.

Procedure time:

The procedure typically requires anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, including preparation time. It is then followed by 45 minutes of observed recovery time.

Epidural nerve blocks are performed on an outpatient basis. For many people who live with severe pain, such types of nerve blocks have become part of their treatment. These injections (local anesthetic and steroid) directly to the area of a person's affected nerve can help them with pain control and also improve function and quality of life.

Individuals are known to be quite hesitant when it comes to experiencing needles. You should know that some procedures for treating arthritic conditions may even involve up to six needles. But is also important to know that most of such procedures are easy to tolerate and brief. Generally, they only last around five to 15 minutes. A local anesthetic or even sedation is used.

For how long should the procedure be done?

Nerve blocks react to everybody differently. A set of three injections happens to be the norm. But take note that you may gain considerable relief after the first or second injection. In such an instance, further doses may not be necessary.

The peak effect of the steroid will usually be between three and ten days. It is slowly released into the body, and for some people, there is an interval before you start to feel the improvement. This procedure is usually repeated several times over a 12 month period.

What are the expected results?

Steroids are very effective. Mostly it works for people and relieves them of the severity of pain they have to face. Possible conditions where people find nerve blocks as an effective option:

  • Herniated Disc
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Knee Arthritis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Tendinitis & Bursitis
  • Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Main risks of nerve block epidural are:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Bleeding
  • Dural puncture

Side effects:

Some of its side effects include sleeplessness, fever, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, severe arthritis, anxiety, facial flushing, and an increase in pain, headache and a decrease in immunity because of the effect of the steroid.