We all experience pain at some point in our lives. Treatments like pain medications and physical therapy help, but don’t always give you the long-lasting relief you need. Nerve blocks are a type of treatment that quickly get you the relief you’ve been needing.
At Alliance Orthopedics, our team specializes in many different types of treatments for a variety of conditions. Our team of doctors and surgeons help you determine if a nerve block is the best route of treatment for your condition.
All about nerve blocks
Many different types of doctors use nerve blocks for the management of different types of pain. There are nerve blocks for surgical procedures, childbirth, and diagnostic reasons.
The nerve block itself is relatively simple — it’s essentially an injection into a specific area of nerves to either relieve your pain or figure out the exact spot that’s causing you discomfort. There’s no preparation necessary for this procedure, and you go home the same day, unless you need to stay in the hospital for a procedure.
Our doctors use X-ray to guide them to the exact location of your pain to make sure the injection is as accurate as possible. The medication in the block relieves inflammation, allowing the nerve to rest and heal.
Even though this procedure is fairly quick and safe, there are side effects of which you should be aware, including:
- Nerve damage
If you’re diabetic, the steroids that are sometimes used in nerve blocks may elevate your blood sugar. This is usually temporary, but can lead to short-term problems. However, if you and our team decide that the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks, you’ll be scheduled for your first injection.
When a nerve block can help
This treatment can be used in many areas of your body, including your arms, legs, and spine for various types of pain relief, including:
- Reducing pain after surgery
- Arthritis pain
- Low back pain
- Pain from herniated discs
- Chronic regional pain syndrome
Our team also uses nerve blocks as a diagnostic tool to help determine the location and cause of your pain. Determining if the procedure helps your pain or not allows us to narrow down the areas of concern and develop the most effective treatment plan.
Things to know before this procedure
Although this is a relatively safe procedure, you should always be informed of what to expect and the risks of the procedure. Here are three things you should know before your first nerve block:
1. Everyone is different.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that just one injection will work to get rid of your pain. Because your body and pain sensors are unique, one injection may work for you, but it may take several injections to alleviate someone else’s pain.
This is also true because chronic pain may involve more than one bundle of nerves, making it hard to find the exact location of your pain. Since the first injection may be diagnostic, it could take our team several nerve blocks to deliver the relief you’ve been seeking.
2. You might be sore later.
Although we use a local anesthetic, it may not last more than a few hours in your system. After it wears off, you might have some soreness in the area where the injection was done. This shouldn’t last more than a day or two, but could be uncomfortable while you wait for the steroid to take effect. You should begin to feel long-term relief after a week or so.
3. Your medical history plays a role.
Sometimes, your condition might require more than one nerve block to alleviate your chronic pain. This is highly dependent on what condition is causing your discomfort, along with other health problems you have as well. For example, if you’re diabetic, you might receive your injections less often, so as not to disrupt your blood sugar.
If a nerve block sounds like it could help you, don’t hesitate to call one of our four convenient locations in New Jersey, or book a consultation with our pain management doctors online today.