Considering a Nerve Block? Here's What You Should Know

Whether you wake each day to constant pain or your life has become limited because pain strikes with certain movements, you need to find relief. Oral medications don’t seem to be doing the trick and you want a solution that will allow you to move freely. That solution may lie in a nerve block.

At Commonwealth Pain and Spine, we’re devoted to helping our patients find solutions for managing pain so they can get back to living. Our highly experienced team of pain management specialists offers a wide range of effective solutions, depending upon your underlying problem, but the nerve block is one of our more reliable, frontline options.

If you’re considering a nerve block, here’s what you should know about this quick-and-easy (not to mention highly effective) pain management technique.

Nerve blocks 101

As the name implies, a nerve block is designed to quiet the nerve responsible for your pain by preventing it from sending pain signals to your brain.

More often than not, a nerve block contains two ingredients — a local anesthetic for immediate pain relief and a steroid to address inflammation.

We also turn to nerve blocks as a diagnostic tool as they allow us to better identify the exact nerve that’s causing your discomfort.

Conditions that a nerve block can improve

When you’re experiencing musculoskeletal pain, it often stems from a nerve that’s been compromised or damaged in some way. For example, if you have degenerative disc disease in your lower back, your disc can rupture and irritate one of the sensitive nerve roots that branch out from your spine, causing pain that radiates down into your legs. By targeting the nerve that’s been compressed with a nerve block, we can “turn off” the pain signaling and reduce the inflammation that’s crowding your nerve.

This same approach can help greatly with joint pain, tackling problems like arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis.

Nerve blocks can also play a valuable role in remedying other types of pain, such as headaches and shingles pain.

The duration of your nerve block

A nerve block isn’t a permanent solution, but it can accomplish several objectives outside of providing near immediate relief from your pain. 

First, when we administer your nerve block, we give your tissues and nerves the time and space to heal properly. 

Second, by relieving your pain, you can take steps to address the underlying cause of your discomfort, such as physical therapy

Third, it allows us to determine whether you may need a more aggressive solution, such as radiofrequency ablation or surgery.

It’s hard to say how long your nerve block will provide relief as it depends upon a number of factors, such as how long you’ve been in pain and the degree to which your nerve is compromised.

Getting a nerve block

Once we identify the nerve that’s most likely responsible for the pain signaling, we use fluoroscopy (X-ray technology) to guide the needle into position. We then release the block and you’re free to return home afterward.

You may feel some soreness at the site of the injection, and your results may be immediate or gradual as the steroids reduce the inflammation over the course of a week to 10 days.

If you want to take pain out of your daily equation, restore your function, and improve your quality of life with a nerve block, contact one of our 15 locations in St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, London, Carrollton. and Pikeville, Kentucky; Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany,  and Jasper, Indiana; and Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

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