People with chronic pain need immediate pain relief that is more effective and durable than conventional pain management options. Hence, for such people ‘Nerve blocks’ are common and effective treatment.
Though clinically, nerve blocks are procedures that can help manage or even prevent various types of unmanageable pain. However, in the form of injections, nerve blocks, or neural blockades provide aid by blocking pain from particular nerves. The main objective is to bring pain relief rather than numbing the nerve or providing total loss of feeling.
Basically, nerve block procedure require –
- Ultrasound, fluoroscopy or CT scan
The doctor uses needles and the guided images from the scanner to inject the anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving drugs into the nerve (single or multiple).
However, depending upon the medicine induced, it can be temporary or permanent. Doctors may involve local or regional anesthesia for the procedure that involves destroying or cutting the nerves causing the pain.
Types of Nerve Blocks
- Sympathetic blockade – the drug is administered to block pain from the sympathetic nervous system in the single specific area.
- Neurectomy – The procedure involves surgical removal of damaged peripheral nerve.
- Rhizotomy – The procedure involves eradication of nerve root extending from the spine.
Common Uses For Nerve Blocks
Besides using the technique for easing pain during surgeries, it can also be used to manage chronic injuries and health conditions that involve damaged, irritated or inflamed nerves. Other common uses include –
- Managing pain coming from the spine.
- Pain affecting the neck, arms, buttocks, and legs.
- Labor and delivery pain
- Cancer Pain
- Arthritis pain
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Lower Back pain
- Headaches like – occipital neuralgia and migraines
- CRPS or Chronic regional pain syndrome
Doctors don’t always recommend nerve block to treat chronic pain, but in people with a persistent pain condition, it might be the best option available.
Written by: Dr. H Kaur
Edited by: J. Dias