Roughly 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, with symptoms that affect their lives daily or almost daily. While medications, lifestyle changes, and physical therapy can help, these options aren’t always effective in relieving pain and helping people regain their quality of life.
At Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, David Berkower, DO, helps patients manage their painful symptoms with nerve block injections tailored to their unique needs. In this post, Dr. Berkower explains what nerve blocks are and how to tell if they might be right for you.
How nerve blocks work
Nerve blocks work by interrupting nerve signaling between a nerve or group of nerves and your brain. The sensation of pain happens when nerves release specific chemicals that travel along a pathway to your brain. Your brain interprets those chemical signals as painful sensations.
A nerve block uses anesthetics or other substances to block that nerve pathway, preventing chemical signals from reaching the brain. Dr. Berkower uses diagnostic imaging to ensure accurate placement of the injections for maximum effect.
In addition to treating pain, nerve blocks can also be helpful in locating the problematic nerve or nerves. When Dr. Berkower suspects a certain nerve is causing the pain, he injects a nerve block solution in the area and observes the response. If your pain decreases or disappears entirely, then he knows that’s the nerve that’s causing your symptoms, and he can prescribe targeted therapy.
Choosing the right nerve block
As a pain management specialist, Dr. Berkower is skilled in administering multiple types of nerve blocks, so you can feel confident you’ll receive the optimal treatment for your specific type of pain. The type of block he recommends is based on the location of the nerve, the type of symptoms it’s causing, and other factors.
At our practice, Dr. Berkower uses nerve blocks to treat generalized pain and pain that affects specific parts of your body, such as your lower back or your legs. Depending on the type of nerve block you have, the effects can last for weeks, months, or longer.
When nerve blocks are the best choice
Nerve blocks are usually used when other, more conservative pain management options, such as medicine and physical therapy, fail to provide relief. However, they can also be used as a first-line treatment for some conditions. Here are some examples of when using a nerve block may be the best choice.
One of the most common uses of nerve blocks is to treat nerve-related (neuropathic) pain. This includes pain that happens when a nerve is compressed or “pinched,” or when a nerve is damaged by trauma or disease. Because it directly involves one or more nerves, nerve blocks can be more effective than medication or therapy in providing relief.
Many people with arthritis or other joint problems also benefit from nerve blocks. Again, the ability to target the joint directly makes these injections especially effective in providing relief.
Chronic pain conditions
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, often due to conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic regional pain syndrome. While medication and physical therapy can help, nerve blocks are often able to provide a higher degree of relief.
Many types of cancer cause acute or chronic pain or both. Some cancer therapies also cause pain. Nerve blocks can be an effective way to manage cancer-related pain without involving other medications.
Nerve blocks can also be a good solution to help people avoid prolonged courses of pain medicine, which can cause problems of their own. And they can be a great option for people who can’t have surgery or who want to avoid or delay surgery.
Find a solution for your pain
Don’t let chronic pain interfere with your life and well-being. Dr. Berkower and his team have solutions that can help. To learn more about nerve blocks and other pain management therapies, call 954-430-9972 or book an appointment online with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.