If you've tried various treatments for chronic lower back pain with little to no relief, you might be wondering if there’s a more effective option for you. Brenton Wynn, MD, and Dr. Alexander Krakovsky offer many different pain management therapies here at Wynn Over Pain in National City, California. Depending on the cause of your pain and the severity of your symptoms, you might consider injections, spinal cord stimulators, Sanexas therapy, or holistic therapies such as acupuncture.
Below, we zero in on one treatment in particular: nerve blocks. Read on to learn more about nerve blocks and when you should think about getting one.
What is a nerve block?
A nerve block is a medical procedure in which a local anesthetic or steroid medication is injected into or near a nerve. The goal is to block or interrupt pain signals along the nerve pathway. When your nerve can’t send pain messages to your brain, it provides you with relief from chronic pain conditions.
Here’s what you can expect during a nerve block:
You'll be asked to lie down on an examination table, and the area where the injection will be administered will be cleaned and sterilized.
A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and underlying tissues at the injection site. This is done to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
Using fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray guidance) or ultrasound for precise placement, your Wynn Over Pain provider inserts a thin needle through your skin and guides it toward the target nerve or nerve cluster. The use of imaging technology helps ensure accurate positioning.
Once the needle is in the correct location, medication is injected. The type and amount of medication used can vary depending on the specific nerve block procedure and your condition. Local anesthetics provide immediate pain relief, while steroids help reduce inflammation and provide longer-lasting relief.
After the injection, you may be monitored for a short period to ensure there are no immediate adverse reactions. This monitoring typically takes place in a recovery area.
You then receive instructions on how to care for the injection site, as well as any restrictions or activities to avoid in the hours following the procedure. You may be advised to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a brief period.
The effectiveness and duration of pain relief can vary. Some patients experience immediate relief, while others may notice improvements in the days following the procedure as the steroid takes effect. The duration of pain relief can also vary, ranging from several weeks to several months.
When to think about a nerve block
You might consider a block block in the following situations:
You have persistent pain
If you have been experiencing chronic lower back pain that persists despite other conservative treatments like physical therapy, medications, or lifestyle changes, it might be time to consider a nerve block. Nerve blocks can be particularly effective when the pain is localized and caused by a specific nerve or nerve cluster.
You need to pinpoint the source of your pain
Sometimes, nerve blocks can serve as a diagnostic tool. Your Wynn Over Pain provider may suggest a nerve block to help identify the exact source of your pain. If the block provides significant pain relief, it can confirm the nerve responsible for your discomfort.
You want to avoid surgery
Nerve blocks can be a valuable option to explore before considering surgery for chronic lower back pain. They offer a less invasive alternative that may provide relief without the risks and recovery time associated with surgery.
You want to reduce medication dependency
If you've been relying on pain medications to manage your chronic lower back pain, you might want to explore nerve blocks as a way to reduce your dependency on these drugs. Nerve blocks can provide longer-lasting pain relief without the side effects associated with some medications.
Your back pain impacts your quality of life
Chronic pain significantly impacts your daily life and can make even simple tasks challenging. Chronic pain doesn’t only cause physical ailments. It can affect your mental health, decrease your pain tolerance, affect your sleep quality, and increase your risk of anxiety and depression.
If your lower back pain is affecting your overall quality of life and preventing you from participating in activities you enjoy, it's a valid reason to consider a nerve block as a potential solution.
Your path to relief starts with a consultation
Chronic lower back pain can be a persistent and frustrating condition, but pain management options like nerve blocks may provide relief when other treatments have failed.
If you find that chronic lower back pain is ruling your life, visit our office to explore your pain management options. Call 619-332-2786 or click here to book an appointment online.