Under normal circumstances, your nerves do a great job of alerting you to danger or to a problem, allowing you to take action. There are times, however, when a nerve or nerve group can become hyper irritated and go into overdrive sending pain signals to your brain.
To quiet these nerves and allow time for them (and you) to heal, the team of pain management specialists at Commonwealth Pain and Spine often turns to nerve blocks. Here’s a look at how nerve blocks can play a key role in your pain management.
Perhaps your pain stems from arthritis, spinal stenosis (narrowing of your spinal canal), or tendonitis. What each of these issues, and other conditions, have in common is that they irritate a certain nerve or group of nerves, causing them to continually send pain signals to your brain.
The problem with scenarios such as these is that you’re often well aware of the problem and you’re working toward solutions, but the constant pain can interfere with these efforts.
In these cases, nerve blocks can play a key role as we’re able to disrupt the pain signaling, allowing you valuable time to take more meaningful steps toward longer-term resolution.
Our nerve blocks contain an anesthetic, which goes to work immediately to quiet the nerve and disrupt the pain signaling. We frequently combine the anesthetic with an anti-inflammatory medication, as inflammation is often behind the nerve irritation.
We perform nerve blocks right here in our offices and there’s nothing you need to do to prepare in advance.
When you come in, we first make you comfortable with a mild sedative or topical analgesic so that you won’t feel any discomfort during your nerve block.
When you’re ready, we inject the nerve block directly into the area where the irritated nerve is located. For accuracy, we often turn to fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to guide us.
As we mentioned, the anesthetic often goes to work immediately to relieve your pain, but the anti-inflammatory component may take a little more time to effectively reduce the compression of your nerves — typically 3-10 days.
As for how long the nerve block lasts, this varies greatly from one patient to the next and depends upon your body’s response. There are times when we may need to administer several nerve blocks for maximum results.
If we’re giving you a nerve block for a condition that can be improved by other means, such as physical therapy for arthritis, we urge you to take advantage of this pain-free period and get to work.
There are times, however, when your only goal is pain relief, as the underlying condition may be irreversible or degenerative. In these cases, you’ll likely benefit from a regular regimen of nerve blocks so that you can enjoy a life free from pain.
If you’d like to explore whether a nerve block can play a role in managing your pain, make an appointment with one of our pain management experts at a location near you. These locations include St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky. Indiana offices are in Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper. We also serve patients in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.