Using nerve blocks is a great way for some people to be able to manage their pain. The more pain they are in, the more effective nerve blocks can be. While it is not the ideal answer for every situation, it can definitely help with some specific problems. If you have been struggling with pain for some time, it may be time to talk with your care management team to find out if you would be a good candidate for nerve blocks.
Types of Currently Used Nerve Blocks
There are many types of nerve blocks that can be used, depending on where your pain is. They are able to be applied to different parts of the body, and able to provide relief. Here are some of the most common nerve blocks that are currently being used.
- When you need relief in your face, a trigeminal block is used
- For the eyelids or the scalp, an ophthalmic block works
- For your forehead, you can use a supraorbital block
- A maxillary block helps with the upper jaw
- For pain in the nose or palate, you can have a sphenopalatine block
- For pain in your back or neck, you can use one of a few blocks: lumbar, thoracic, or cervical
- When you need pain relief in your shoulders or your upper neck, you could use a cervical plexus or paravertebral block
- For pain in your wrist, elbow, hand, arm, or shoulder, a brachial plexus type of block works best
- When you need relief from pain in your pelvis or abdomen, you can get a celiac plexus or subarachnoid block
Side Effects and Risks of Nerve Blocks
Just like with any other type of medical procedure, there are always risks involved. However, most of the side effects or risks can be managed, making the benefits outweigh the risks. You could experience higher blood sugar levels. Some experience rash-like symptoms or itchiness at the area of the block. A few patients have experienced a burst of extra energy, while others have experienced weight gain. Typically, the injection site is a bit sore, and rarely the area can bleed.
When Nerve Blocks Are an Ideal Procedure
There are many different medical problems that could be relieved by nerve blocks. Anything from spasms coming from bunches of blood vessels to spinal decompression can be benefitted from nerve blocks. It is commonly used to help relieve chronic pain. Nerve blocks are a great way to be able to manage pain that isn’t responding to other forms of treatment. You may need to have additional treatment after some blocks, if they begin to impede with your normal bodily functions. This can include things like speech therapy and physical therapy to learn to maneuver with the block in place.
Things to Know Before Getting Nerve Blocks
There are a few things that it is important for patients to know prior to getting a nerve block. More often than not, knowing these things ahead of time can make the process easier. For example, a lot of people are worried about the actual injection. Typically, the worry over having the procedure done is worse than the procedure itself. If you are concerned about the procedure, say something. There are options to make it to where you feel nothing during the procedure. Sometimes a local anesthetic is an option, while other times, sedation through an IV is a better option. It is all determined by your specific needs.
Another important thing to know prior to the procedure is that you cannot be 100% sure of how your body will react prior to getting the block done. Everyone responds slightly differently to nerve blocks, so don’t expect a definite reaction. Some people notice that their pain is gone the instant the procedure is over. Others need more than one injection to be able to get relief. You won’t know how your body will respond until you have the first procedure done.
Also, how often you need the procedure repeated is going to differ. Some people get relief from nerve blocks for 6-12 months, while others will need a new nerve block put in place 5-6 times per year. The only way to know how long your relief is going to last is to try having the nerve block done. Your medical history is going to be part of the determining factor over how often you may need, and can have, nerve blocks done.
Epic Healthcare & Physical Medicine Can Help When You Suffer from Chronic Pain
When you are struggling with chronic pain, you may find that your other options aren’t helping. If that’s the case, then the professionals at Epic Healthcare & Physical Medicine may be able to help. They are experienced with nerve blocks, and can help bring you some relief.