How Do Nerve Blocks Work and How Long Do They Last?

How Do Nerve Blocks Work and How Long Do They Last?

At least 50 million Americans live with chronic pain. For many, over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t effective enough, but nonsurgical solutions like nerve block injections can provide long-term results.

Dr. Victor E. Mendoza and our Vulcan Pain Management team can develop personalized treatment strategies designed to address your pain at the source so you find the most effective pain relief possible. Nerve blocks are an interventional technique — they not only relieve pain but are also designed to help you heal.

Getting to the source of your pain

Nerve blocks work by numbing the nerves that are triggering your discomfort. Common nerve blocks include epidurals, cervical medial branch blocks, and peripheral nerve blockades.

To perform a nerve block, we inject anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, or a combination of medications into your affected nerve to treat irritation, inflammation, and pain. Once in place, these medications get to work immediately, “turning off” the receptors that trigger your pain. These medications can also provide long-term relief by reducing nerve irritation, which allows inflamed nerves to heal.

We recommend nerve blocks for a wide range of pain disorders, including:

In addition to treating pain with nerve blocks, we can also use them as a diagnostic tool to help locate the source of your discomfort.

What to expect from a nerve block

In most cases, you don’t need to prepare in advance for a nerve block procedure, so you can eat and drink before your appointment.

Before delivering your injection, we numb the area with a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable, and we use a thin needle to administer your nerve block medications. Depending on your condition, we might also use contrast dye and a special type of X-ray, known as fluoroscopy, to identify the precise location for your injection and to guide the needle into position.

After we inject your nerve block, you rest for 15-30 minutes while the medication takes effect, but you can expect to start noticing pain relief immediately.

These results are only temporary, however, and typically last for 1-2 weeks. Depending on the cause of your pain, we might recommend a series of injections to help you find long-term relief while your nerve heals.

To learn more about whether a nerve block could help relieve your pain and discomfort, call us at Vulcan Pain Management or schedule an appointment online today at either our Birmingham or Montgomery, Alabama, office.

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