Treatment Options

Peripheral Nerve Block

A nerve block is a procedure used to treat or diagnose severe pain. The block is placed by injecting an anesthetic into the affected nerve to either numb the pain or determine if the pain is coming from the nerve. If the pain is relieved when the block is injected, it can be assumed that the pain is caused by the nerve. After a diagnostic nerve block, the procedure may be repeated as a more long-term treatment method.

Nerve blocks are placed with the help of ultrasound imaging, and injected directly into the affected nerve. Pain outside the spinal area is diagnosed with a peripheral nerve block, which may be inserted in the occipital nerves in the cervical area, the ilioinguinal nerve in the pelvic area or other motor nerves. Nerve blocks are not an option for all patients and can cause serious side effects.

Selective Nerve Blocks

A nerve block is a treatment used to both treat and diagnose severe pain. The block is placed by injecting a substance like alcohol or phenol into or around the nerve to numb it and interrupt the pain signals sent to the brain.

A therapeutic nerve block is used to treat pain and often contains a local anesthetic that will relieve pain. Nerve blocks used to treat chronic pain can work for up to 6-12 months and can be repeated as needed. They can be helpful to cancer patients. Diagnostic nerve blocks insert an anesthetic for a certain amount of time to determine the source of the pain.

However, nerve blocks can cause serious side effects such as paralysis and damage to arteries. They can also cause low blood pressure, puncturing of the lung or damage to the kidney. Some newer blocks use extreme heat or cold instead of a chemical to prevent some of these side effects. Nerve blocks are sometimes used to avoid surgical procedures, but are not always the answer.

Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

A sympathetic nerve block involves the injection of a medication to numb a nerve and interrupt the pain signals it sends to the brain. It is used to both diagnose damage and treat pain caused by the sympathetic nerves, which run throughout the spine. The sympathetic nerves are responsible for essential bodily functions, including the regulation of blood vessels, heart rate, perspiration and more.

A therapeutic nerve block is used to treat pain and typically contains a local anesthetic that will relieve pain. Nerve blocks used to treat chronic pain can work for up to 6 to 12 months and can be repeated as needed. Diagnostic nerve blocks insert an anesthetic for a certain amount of time to determine the source of the pain.

Sympathetic nerve blocks can be performed along several areas of the spine. A Stellate block focuses on the sympathetic nerves in the upper spine, including those that run to the chest, arms, neck and head. A Lumbar sympathetic nerve block targets the sympathetic nerves of the lower spine that affect the legs and feet. A nerve block of the Thoracic region involves the sympathetic nerves in the middle of the spine that reach the abdomen.

Sympathetic Ganglion Block

A sympathetic ganglion block is a type of nerve block used in the treatment of severe or chronic pain. It involves the injection of an anesthetic medication that will numb the affected bundle of nerves, which is known as a ganglion. These nerves branch out to provide sensation to a particular part of the body and if they are damaged or compressed in any way, they can produce significant pain and other symptoms.

The stellate ganglion is part of the sympathetic nerve chain. It runs through a portion of the upper body, including parts of the head, neck, arms and chest area. Damage to the ganglion nerves can result in pain in one or more of these regions. A sympathetic ganglion block involves the injection of a medication to numb the nerve and interrupt the pain signals it sends to the brain. It can be used in a diagnostic capacity in order to determine whether the source of the discomfort is due to damage to the ganglion nerves as well as to effectively treat pain.

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