Nerve Blocks: How They Can Improve Pain

March 17, 2022

nerve blocks Nerve blocks are a treatment option for patients at Southside Pain Specialists who experience severe chronic pain. They involve an injection of local anesthetic and steroid directly to the area of the affected nerve to help with pain management. 

The goal is to improve function and quality of life. Nerve blocks are typically used for pain in the back, legs, arms, buttocks, neck, and face.

How Nerve Blocks Help With Pain

Nerve blocks are a treatment option that involves disrupting pain signals in nerves before the brain has a chance to process that pain. We do this by injecting a special medicine around the nerve, essentially “blocking” pain transmission.

Nerve blocks function in two ways: 

  1. Diagnostic nerve blocks help us pinpoint what is causing certain pain and determine the best treatment. 
  2. Therapeutic nerve blocks provide prolonged pain relief and prevent pain from reoccurring in the same part of the body in the future.

We typically perform nerve blocks on an outpatient basis, and most likely, you will stay awake for the procedure. We use a local anesthetic, then a fluoroscope X-ray helps us gently guide the needle to the right spot. This is important for complete accuracy and safety. We inject pain-relieving medicine into the affected nerves. 

It only takes about half an hour to fully recover from the treatment, and then you will be dismissed to go home. A little soreness at the injection site of the nerve block is normal, and this will diminish within a few days.

The overall goal is to decrease your pain, whether that means learning more about your pain and finding appropriate treatment, or actually treating the pain through the nerve block itself. Many patients also experience improvement in other areas, such as: 

  • Increased functional status
  • Decreased opioid usage
  • Increased ability to perform physical therapy
  • The ability of other maintenance or preventative modalities

As with all medical procedures, different patients may respond differently. It can take up to a week before you fully experience pain relief and other benefits. Whether or not you have multiple injections will depend on your medical history. You may be able to repeat the procedure from three to six times in a 12-month period.

Your doctor at Southside Pain Specialists will determine the exact number of injections that you need and can receive. The process of multiple pain blocks can be beneficial in making sure your pain symptoms do not return. In some cases, patients require a few injections of the nerve block, with each one more anti-inflammatory than the last. 

Start your pain management journey by scheduling an appointment at Southside Pain Specialists

With highly specialized training and a multitude of pain relief options, Southside Pain Specialists follow the standards of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, The American Board of Pain Medicine, and the International Spinal Injection Society. We work hard to provide patients with comprehensive, caring pain relief when they need it most. Check out our website or contact us today at 205.332.3155 to learn more.