A nerve block is a procedure where the Colorado pain management doctor injects a solution of medications, usually a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid, into an area to numb a specific nerve or nerve root in order to relieve a patient of chronic pain caused by conditions such as DDD (degenerative disc disease), spinal stenosis or severe chronic headaches such as cluster headaches and migraines.
What are nerve blocks used for?
Nerve blocks are also used during and after surgery instead of or in conjunction with general anesthesia to minimize pain during the surgical procedure, or via a catheter directly into the location of the desired nerve to maintain a supply of local anesthetic to numb the nerve for several days after a surgical procedure. This is done in order to alleviate post-operative pain and minimize or enhance the use of opioid analgesics.
They are one of the best nonoperative treatments for sciatica and spinal stenosis along with pinched nerves in the neck as well (called radiculopathy).
What is the most common use of nerve blocks?
Nerve block procedures however are most often used in pain management for patients suffering chronic debilitating pain due to pinched nerves and are unable to function normally due to their pain. For many of these patients utilizing the nerve blocks for pain management does indeed often prevent the need for surgery, although it may be inevitable for some that surgery eventually be performed.
Who is a nerve block recommended for?
This is often done for patients that are able to function somewhat normally when the nerve blocks are used and so they are still able to work, yet they are unable to take the required time away from their job to undergo the surgery and post-operative healing period. Using the nerve block injections prolongs the time for surgery, although doing so may exacerbate their condition.
When is the best option a nerve block over surgery?
Nerve blocks may in fact prevent the need for surgery. Especially if the condition starts to get better while the pain relief is occurring from the nerve blocks. In addition, when an individual has a job that would be difficult to take time off, the nerve blocks may provide the pain relief desired.
One example is a herniated disc. Most herniated discs do get better and the body desintegrates the piece of disc that is not where it’s supposed to be. A nerve block may offer the relief during that time!