Nerve Blocks in Northern New Jersey
What Is a Nerve Block?
Nerve block treatment requires a medical professional to inject local anesthesia close to a group of nerves suspected of being the impetus of pain to reduce discomfort and sometimes heal nerves in the targeted region of the body. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics is known for effectively treating patients with the following nerve blocks and related procedures:
Medial Nerve Blocks
Medial nerve blocks are an effective form of pain management that reduces the patient’s pain by disrupting the damaged nerves in their facet joints from transmitting pain signals to the brain.
Epidural Steroid Injections
An epidural injection can provide adequate pain relief When a spinal nerve becomes pinched by a disc disorder. Epidural steroid injections are performed in a sterile procedure room by passing a needle through the skin and muscle overlying the spine.
Sacroiliac Joint Injections
Sacroiliac joints are the parts of the spine responsible for keeping the sacrum attached to the hip. The spine consists of two sacroiliac joints (one on each side of the back) to absorb shock to the legs during physical activity. Sacroiliac joint injections can relieve pain and inflammation for some patients.
Conditions Helped by Nerve Block
Nerve blocks are most often recommended to mediate pain that occurs anywhere in the body caused by arthritis of the spine, pinched nerves, or other acute or chronic structural ailments. Nerve blocks not only mitigate pain caused by such conditions but often are harnessed as a diagnostic tool. The procedure enables physicians and medical professionals to more precisely diagnose where neck pain or shoulder pain stems from to offer adequate treatment.
How a Nerve Block Works
Although non-surgical, nerve blocks require numbing the superficial area where the block medication will be injected. Using a fluoroscopic or X-ray device, the specialist will insert a needle to deposit nerve-block medications, steroids, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs into the location where the pain is suspected to radiate. The medication can last anywhere from 10 hours to up to two weeks, depending on the prescribed pain management treatment and medical intent.
Possible Nerve Block Side Effects
Nerve blocks, are used to alleviate back pain, leg pain, discomfort from arthritis, or during a surgical procedure, are relatively safe compared to surgeries. Less than 0.1% of the time, there can be unintended side effects depending on the body region where the block was performed. These could include:
- Infection, soreness, or bleeding at the site of injection
- Elevated blood sugar
- Rash or itching at the injection site
- Weight gain and/or increased energy
- Difficulty swallowing and hoarse throat
- Drooping eyes
- Temporary muscle weakness or numbness
- Allergic reaction to medications
- Nerve damage due to injection or blood cot
In very rare occasions, the medications may appear to not wear off or nerve damage may occur. However, these instances are highly uncommon and nerve damage can self-heal within about three months.
What to Do and Know Before a Nerve Block Procedure
For patients of Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics to receive a nerve block, they must first be treated with regular, routine physical therapy and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications as a first line of leg, shoulder, or back pain treatment.
Once a patient has gone through these options and discomfort persists, a nerve blockage can be prescribed. Before the nerve block patients should:
- Fast for four hours before the scheduled appointment is plan to use IV anesthesia during the procedure. Otherwise, fasting is unnecessary.
- Possibly refrain from taking pain medications as they may interfere with test results, though prescriptions may be allowed
- Consult with the physician if taking any prescribed blood thinners as they may complicate the procedure
- Arrive early to the appointment
- Arrange a ride as driving is not recommended for 24 hours after the injection
It is best to confer with the administering physician regarding specific questions about the procedure and disclose all medical history before the scheduled appointment.
What to Expect During the Nerve Block Process
Patients who receive a nerve block at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics can expect to have the procedure at a surgical center, even though they will remain awake the entire time. The entire procedure is relatively quick and usually is done in an hour. Once within the examination room, the patient can expect to:
- Lay comfortably as vital signs are assessed
- Receive a localized shot of anesthesia to the affected area, which is the lower back during a medial branch nerve block (The slight sting from the numbing medication is the only discomfort the patient likely will feel during the process.)
- Wait for anesthesia to set in
- Receive the nerve block injection, which takes only a few moments to administer
Patients can expect to leave about 20 minutes after the procedure is complete.
What to Expect After the Nerve Block
After the nerve blocks, patients should rest, relax and limit their mobility. Other practices they should follow include:
- Refraining from showering or getting the injection site wet for up to 24 hours
- Administering ice packs on and off for 15-minute intervals every 2 to 3 hours during the first 24 hours to relieve tenderness and inflammation at the injection site
- Using a heating paid for pain during the first 24 hours
- Taking pain medication as directed
- Returning to regular activity shortly after the process
If the injection is used as a diagnostic device, patients should feel pain relief for 12-18 hours after the nerve block. Physicians generally expect the discomfort to reduce by about 80% during those hours. If pain is reduced by less after the injection, the root of discomfort may lie somewhere else.
Expected Steps Based on Block Results
Based on the results, the doctor or neurologist may suggest a follow-up injection to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis. If necessary, the second injection likely will be scheduled two weeks after the first. Depending on the reason for the nerve block, up to four may be recommended, spaced out over several weeks.
In certain instances, a facet radiofrequency ablation (FRA) is recommended to sever nerve roots between the vertebrae joints and bones. This can relieve some back pain for up to a year.
Discover Nerve Block Treatment in Northern NJ
The award-winning pain management doctors at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics use the latest medical technology to treat patients with leg, back, and neck pain using nerve blocks and other conservative pain management techniques. CNSO also is comprised of neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, and physical therapists to help facilitate a rapid return to lifestyle activities. Patients will find multiple convenient care centers throughout northern NJ, including Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson counties. Contact the doctors at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics to learn more about nerve blocks.