Considering a Nerve Block? Here’s What You Should Know
Whether it’s due to a sore throat, ankle sprain, surgical procedure, or other problem, pain is sometimes a part of life. It’s typically temporary, though. As you heal, the pain will fade. Won’t it?
Not always. Sometimes pain turns chronic, and it can last for months, even years. When it’s an ongoing part of your day-to-day life, pain can have a significant impact on your social, physical, and emotional well-being.
Thankfully, there are many successful treatments available that can relieve your chronic pain and restore your quality of life. Among these treatments are nerve blocks.
Dr. Berkower is a physical medicine and rehabilitation expert who also specializes in chronic pain relief. He leads our team here at Berkower Pain and Spine Rehabilitation and provides a wide variety of nonsurgical treatments for patients with chronic pain. He’s an expert at delivering nerve block injections and explains how they can be an integral part of your healing process.
What is a nerve block?
Nonsurgical nerve blocks, the type we perform here at Berkower Rehabilitation, involve an injection of a medication around a specific nerve or a bundle of nerves. The injection material includes an anesthetic that prevents nerve impulses in the targeted region from letting your brain know you feel pain.
Depending on the nature and location of your pain, we may also include an anti-inflammatory medication (steroid) in the injection to reduce swelling and inflammation at the painful site.
What conditions can you treat with a nerve block?
A nerve block injection relieves chronic pain that may stem from a long list of problems, including:
- Back pain due to herniated discs, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), and other conditions
- Complex regional pain syndrome, which can cause continuous throbbing or burning pain in the affected region
A nerve block doesn’t necessarily “cure” the condition causing your pain. It can, however, provide months of relief, which is very valuable on its own.
It also often gives you the opportunity to undergo rehabilitation, such as guided physical therapy and other restorative treatments that you may have difficulty participating in without pain control provided by a nerve block.
Will I need an evaluation first?
Because pain is one of the body’s best indicators that something has gone wrong, we don’t recommend a nerve block until you’ve undergone a complete evaluation and diagnostic studies as necessary to identify the underlying issue.
Pain also travels or may appear to originate in an unrelated area. Symptoms of burning or shooting discomfort in your buttocks or the back of your thigh, for instance, may seem like a hip or leg issue.
It’s often the case, however, that this type of pain is related to compression of the sciatic nerve root in your lower back. A thorough evaluation helps us determine that, and a nerve block may be only part of the treatment we recommend.
What can I expect during a nerve block injection?
We’ll explain it thoroughly before you schedule a block, but it’s a relatively simple procedure that usually takes under an hour overall. It’s performed here at Berkower Pain and Spine Rehab.
We’ll get you comfortably positioned, then we cleanse and numb the targeted injection site, insert the needle, and use specialized X-ray imagery that helps ensure the injection reaches the appropriate treatment region before we release the medication.
Afterward, you may experience a little soreness at the site, but it typically fades quickly. We might ask you to take it easy for a short time to give the medication a chance to do its job, but there’s no extensive “recovery” necessary following the injection.
Nerve blocks are often very effective for treating chronic pain and are one of the many quality services we offer at Berkower Pain and Spine Rehabilitation. Schedule your appointment today.