What We Use Nerve Blocks For

Mar 22, 2024
What We Use Nerve Blocks For
Chronic pain can be notoriously difficult to manage with standard therapies, but nerve blocks can often help. Here’s how nerve blocks work and when we recommend them for our patients.

More than 50 million Americans have chronic pain, dealing with symptoms that affect them daily. While some kinds of chronic pain can be effectively managed with medication or physical therapy, there are other types of pain where these therapies just don’t work.

At the Advanced Spine and Pain Center, our team helps patients fight chronic pain symptoms with nerve blocks, an innovative therapy that blocks pain at its source. In this post, learn more about nerve blocks, including how we use them to help women and men manage stubborn chronic pain.

Understanding nerve blocks

Pain happens when chemical signals send messages along your nerves to your brain. Once those signals are delivered, your brain interprets them as painful sensations. 

Nerve blocks use injections or other techniques to interrupt that process, preventing chemical signals from reaching the brain. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and yield quick and long-lasting results.

We also use nerve blocks to diagnose the specific source of pain. For diagnosis,we inject a nerve block medicine and record its effects. If it successfully blocks pain, we know we’ve targeted the correct nerve to administer a longer-lasting solution.

Nerve block types

Our team offers a variety of nerve blocks, allowing us to provide truly customized treatment for every patient. We recommend an appropriate nerve block based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the location of the nerve or nerves causing your pain, your health history, and other factors.

Some nerve blocks are used to treat pain in the spine area (like herniated discs or spinal arthritis), while others are appropriate for treating pain in your arms or legs. Nerve block effects can last for weeks, months, or even longer.

More complex types of pain may benefit from a surgical nerve block. These minimally invasive procedures use special techniques to destroy nerves responsible for chronic pain, preventing symptoms in the future.

When nerve blocks are recommended

Nerve blocks are very versatile, helping women and men manage many types of chronic pain, including: 

  • Herniated discs
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Migraines
  • Facial pain
  • Pain associated with cancer or cancer treatment
  • Phantom pain following amputation
  • Nerve-related pain (neuropathy)
  • Post-surgical pain

In most cases, we use nerve blocks once conservative treatment options, like oral medicines or physical therapy, have proven ineffective. Sometimes, though, we use them as a first-line treatment for pain.

We also recommend nerve blocks for patients who want to avoid taking pain medications for long periods and for people who can’t take pain medicines because of their potential side effects. With nerve blocks, there’s no risk of gastrointestinal upset, sleep disturbances, or addiction.

Pain relief focused on your unique needs

Nerve blocks can be very effective in helping women and men manage chronic pain symptoms, but they’re not the only option we offer. To learn how we can tailor a pain management treatment plan just for you, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at our three locations in San Antonio, Texas, today.