AABP Integrative Pain Care

When Is a Nerve Block Necessary?

misc image

If you can’t control persistent pain with medications, it may be time to consider the lasting benefits of a nerve block. Learn how nerve blocks work to relieve pain from arthritis, migraines, and other painful conditions.

A nerve block is an effective way to manage persistent pain from injuries or chronic medical conditions when oral medications aren’t working well.

At AABP Integrative Pain Care, our team of board-certified anesthesiologists offer nerve blocks as a treatment strategy for a wide range of painful conditions.

To find out if you’re a candidate for a nerve block, we also provide comprehensive evaluations in-office to assess the source of your pain.

How nerve blocks work

A nerve block involves the injection of an anesthetic medication directly into a single nerve or a group of nerves that contribute to your pain.

The anesthetic works by disrupting pain signals that come from the nerve and travel to your brain. By stopping these pain signals, the nerve block can provide temporary relief of pain when other strategies can’t.

In addition to the anesthetic, our pain specialists can also inject anti-inflammatories like corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the nerve and surrounding tissues that contribute to pain.

When to consider a nerve block

If you’re experiencing ongoing pain and oral pain relievers and anti-inflammatories aren’t helping, you might be a candidate for a nerve block. We use this type of treatment to address a wide range of conditions that cause pain in your back, shoulder, head, and hips, such as:

Our pain specialists may also use nerve blocks as part of the diagnostic testing process to identify which nerves are responsible for pain. If injecting the anesthetic into a specific nerve provides pain relief, we can make a more accurate diagnosis of what’s triggering your pain condition.

What to expect during a nerve block

A nerve block is an outpatient procedure that we perform in a comfortable office environment. You can expect to lie on an exam table and your provider will identify the right location for the injection.

To ensure they inject the medications in a precise location within your body, our physicians may use fluoroscopy, a real-time X-ray imaging technology, to guide the needle into place. The injection only takes a few minutes to complete and while you may feel a pinch at the time of injection, you should experience minimal discomfort.

After your treatment, you can expect to rest for up to 30 minutes to allow time for the medication to begin working. We also closely monitor you for any unwanted side effects before you can go home to rest.

Effectiveness of nerve blocks

It can take a few hours or days to see the full benefit of a nerve block. Typically, this treatment provides pain relief for two weeks or longer. You may need additional nerve blocks if your pain returns.

Our specialists can also discuss your options for other pain-relief strategies like ketamine infusions or spinal cord stimulation if a nerve block doesn’t provide your expected results.

To learn more about the benefits of a nerve block for long-lasting pain relief, call the AABP Integrative Pain Care office near you to schedule an evaluation or book an appointment online today.