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Understanding Nerve Blocks

By Peter Wendt on October 06, 2011

Nerve block injections, also called regional nerve blockade injections, involve the administration of one or more medications on or near nerves for the purpose of temporary pain relief. They may also be used as a diagnostic tool to help a doctor identify particular nerves that are causing pain by monitoring the patient's response. Some of conditions that are typically treated with nerve block injections are neck and back pain, migraines and sciatica, as well as the pain associated with shingles and cancer.

The medications used in nerve blocks vary depending on the patient's needs, but normally include the combination of a local anesthetic such as Novocaine, corticosteroids, adrenaline and opioid pain killers. The adrenaline serves to constrict the blood vessels, retarding the dispersal of the anesthetic and essentially holding it in place. The purpose of the corticosteroids and opioids are to reduce inflammation and kill pain, respectively.

Nerve blocks can be done as a single treatment, or a series of treatments over time. The injections usually only remain effective for a short period, about 1 or 2 weeks, and several courses may be necessary to achieve permanent relief. However, the treatments don't always work for everyone, and some patients may not experience any benefit from them at all. In such cases, a doctor may recommend that the offending nerves simply be destroyed by method of drugs, radio waves, or cryoanalgesia.

The possible benefits of nerve block injections include relief from pain, improved quality of life and reduction of inflammation. Like with all medical procedures, though, there are risks. These include bleeding, infection of the injection site, spreading of medication to nearby nerves, treating the wrong nerve, and the delivery of medication into the blood stream.

Under most circumstances, nerve block injections are simple and are done on an outpatient basis. When undergoing the process, the patient will be asked to lie down on a table. A doctor will fill a typical syringe with the required medications. Imaging devices like CT scans, fluoroscopy and x-rays are then used to help the doctor locate the correct nerves and guide the needle into the right place. Multiple injections may be necessary depending on the number of painful areas and the size of the location. The entire procedure only takes a few minutes. Afterward, the patient is left to rest for 15 minutes to half an hour so the medications have time to begin working. During this time, a nurse will monitor the patient to make certain that there are no adverse effects on health.

Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher in Austin. Pain doctor researching and evaluation takes up most of his time. If you are looking for a Pain Doctor, Austin TX Peter believes that the city has many sensational offerings.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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