When you suffer from acute or chronic pain, it can often affect the whole of your body as well as your lifestyle. You may struggle to concentrate, have difficulty completing everyday tasks, and experience problems at work or in your relationships due to pain or discomfort. If all you think about is how you can relieve your pain, please consider consulting Hui Kang, MD about a nerve block in Houston to learn if this treatment option may help alleviate your pain so that you can resume the productive and active life you desire to have.
A nerve block is an injection found to be effective in treating neck and back pain, including both chronic and acute pain types. The two main types of nerve blocks are spinal and non-spinal.
Spinal Nerve Blocks
Your doctor will use these types of nerve blocks for spinal conditions and to act as a regional anesthesia, with such blocks including: epidural blocks, facet joint injections, sacroiliac joint injections.
Non-spinal Nerve Blocks
They are divided into two,
- Peripheral nerve blocks are occipital nerve blocks, and are used to treat pain in the shoulder, arm and hand, while your doctor may use brachial plexus blocks to treat chronic headaches, scalp or neck pain.
- Sympathetic nerve blocks are stellate ganglion blocks used to treat regional pain and increase blood flow in the affected extremities. While celiac plexus blocks can treat abdominal pain resulting from cancer or other conditions, lumbar sympathetic blocks usually treat leg pain from a regional syndrome.
Your doctor may recommend a nerve block to diagnose or treat the following sources of pain:
- Pain from the blood vessel
- Chronic pain, including spinal fractures, nerve compression, disc problems
- Acute pain, including nerve injuries
- Pain syndromes, including complex regional pain syndrome and phantom limb pain
Preparing For Nerve Block Treatment
While the preparations you make before the procedure will improve your comfort and outcome, your doctor will also ask questions about your medical history, medications and allergies. Therefore, you are encouraged to carry a current list of your medical conditions, allergies and medicines at all times.
Your doctor will advise on taking or stopping medication as directed. This may include not taking ibuprofen, aspirin and blood thinners.
Procedure For Nerve Block
Your doctor will perform the procedure in an outpatient setting; having you lay face down on the exam table. While you will remain awake during the procedure, Dr. Kang uses a sedative to help you relax.
After cleaning and numbing your skin, the doctor, while using a special X-ray known as fluoroscopy, will then insert a needle into your spine. The importance of fluoroscopy is to help the doctor place the needle at the precise spinal joint or nerve. Once the needle is in place, your doctor will inject the medicine. Depending on the outcome, your doctor can repeat the procedure three times a year.
After receiving the nerve block, it is common to have some soreness around the injection site which your doctor may suggest be alleviated by having you take over-the-counter pain medicines. Just be sure to keep your follow-up appointments following a nerve block procedure.
If you are experiencing chronic pain in your neck, shoulders or spine, make a call or book an appointment online with Houston Pain Specialists.