Nerve blocks are, without a doubt, a topic of conversation that rarely gets brought up when discussing medical procedures. While many individuals have familiarized themselves with traditional pain-treating options, such as over-the-counter products, pharmaceutical-grade pain medications, and intravenous injections, never blocking is a topic that confuses people.
In layman’s terms, nerve blocks — also known as neural blockades — provide a means of pain relief to patients who experience chronic discomfort and individuals entering into the surgery room for a procedure. If this sounds all too confusing, let’s clear some things up.
How Nerve Blocks Work Below the Surface
For many patients, the only means of achieving pain relief is through the means of nerve-blocking treatments that numb the site of agony. Although these procedures require a long syringe that penetrates the tissue of the patient’s skin, injecting a solution — typically lidocaine — into the affected nerves in the region.
For surgical means, block injections typically last between 12 to 48-hour periods. However, patients who experience chronic pain located within specific nerves like the sciatic nerve require treatments with a prolonged impact. While each patient’s needs vary depending on their diagnosis and health, here are some of the tried-and-true surgical and non-surgical nerve blockers doctors and healthcare professionals use in 2021.
- Sympathetic block
- Spinal anesthesia
- Peripheral nerve block
With each of these treatments, pain relief arrives in moments. Once the solution gets injected into the nerves located in the patient’s pain region, inflammation and discomfort melt away into an afterthought.
Now that we’ve established a brief overview of how nerve block treatments work, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and discuss the intricate details surrounding these solutions. To simplify this process, we must explore how our brain and nervous system work in unison to produce sensations we experience daily.
When we, for example, touch a plate containing hot food, our first reaction is to recoil in pain as we move our hands away from the object’s surface. The pain signals our brain sends to our body travel along internal mechanisms called A-delta and C fibers. When our finger’s fibers send signals to the brain saying they’re burning, our mind forces us to move our digits to reduce damage to our skin.
In the same light, doctors and surgeons utilize nerve-blocking treatments that purposely tell your brain to turn off its pain receptors in the region. While these signals are only temporarily dulled, it’s an effective means of diminishing discomfort and inflammatory responses in the patient’s body.
For patients who visit their doctors for chronic pain, treatment options typically last from 6 to 12-month periods. These treatments are for patients who deal with cancer, painful sciatic inflammation, spinal degeneration, slipped discs, joint degradation, severe arthritis, neck soreness, and much more.
Say Goodbye To Pain
Patients who’ve dealt with pain for years have somehow convinced themselves that nothing can be done to alleviate their discomfort. Doctors can help alleviate the pain by using a nerve block, and whether you’ve been struggling in silence for years or have begun noticing pain creeping its way into your life, a nerve block can help.