What is a Nerve Block?  What does it do?
How can it help Me?

A nerve block is a special procedure performed by anesthesiologists and pain management specialists. It is most commonly done to block pain and it can be useful in a variety of situations. 

  

  

Diagnosis, Surgery, Chronic Low Back Pain

They can be helpful for diagnosing certain conditions.  They can provide excellent pain relief for some types of surgical procedures.

In the correct situation they can be helpful for relieving chronic pain.

Diagnostic Nerve Blocks

Your body is a complicated piece of equipment and when you are having pain it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is causing your discomfort.

Blocking certain specific nerves can sometimes help to provide a clear diagnosis.

man with back pain

  

Nerve Pain??

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For example,
evaluating hip pain is a common problem.  It may be from arthritis in your hip joint; it could be referred pain from your low back; it could be bursitis or maybe even muscle pain. It can be difficult to know for sure. 

If blocking the nerves that go to your hip joint relieves your pain, you can be fairly certain that your pain is coming from your hip joint and you may need to consider having your hip replaced. 

This type of block can be helpful for diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome, facet joint pain, and complex regional pain syndrome.

Blocking the Sympathetic Nerves to Diagnose CRPS

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a type of neuropathic pain that is not well understood. It can cause pain in your arm, leg, or other area when no reason for the pain can be determined.

CRPS can cause crippling pain along with other changes that affect only a specific area. There can be hypersensitivity to light touch. There may be changes in skin color and texture. There may be changes in hair patterns and nail growth. 

Difficult to Diagnose with Certainty

Some or all of these symptoms can develop following a severe injury or after a surgery. They are also known to begin spontaneously, without any reason or cause.

CRPS can be very difficult to diagnose. It is currently thought to be caused by a problem or dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system

Your Sympathetic Nervous System is part of your Autonomic Nervous System. This is a system that controls many of your bodily functions that you cannot control consciously. This includes things like blood flow, heart rate, digestion, and sweating.

Blocking the Sympathetic Nerves

When a portion of your sympathetic nervous system is not working correctly it can cause the symptoms of CRPS that are mentioned above. 

A sympathetic nerve block can be used to diagnose CRPS. A local anesthetic such as marcaine or lidocaine is placed around the sympathetic nerves that go to the area of pain and other symptoms.

If this relieves the pain and other symptoms, even temporarily, CRPS is often diagnosed.

May also Provide long lasting Relief

Many specialists will include a steroid medication along with the local anesthetic in hopes of providing longer lasting relief. But, the results are variable, and the pain will often return sooner or later.

What is a Nerve Block? Ch2
Nerve Blocks for Surgery


  

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