If you have a chronic pain condition, then it may be extremely difficult for you to manage your discomfort. If this is the case, then your doctor may offer you some relief with the help of injections. These injections are called nerve blocks that actively block the pain signal to the brain to stop you from feeling the uncomfortable sensations. There are a few questions you may have about the process.
Is the Injection Safe?
One of your biggest concerns may be whether or not the injections are safe. This is a concern for many people because the injection is much like an epidural. Essentially, the nerve block medication is inserted as close to the affected nerve as possible. This means inserting a needle into the spinal column and risking damage to the nerve. Also, the procedure is one that can actually expose the spinal column to bacteria, leaving you at risk of developing bacterial meningitis.
The good news is that the injections are safe. Your doctor will do everything he or she can to ensure this. He or she will make sure that the procedure is a sterile one that involves a sterile field, environment, and instruments. To keep you safe, an exam room is used that will also have dedicated imaging machines to allow for proper needle placement. X-ray imaging is often used for this purpose with a series of timed images taken during the procedure.
CT scans may be utilized as well, depending on the type of nerve block and how close the medication must be injected to the nerve. These scans may be used with or without contrast mediums.
How Long Will It Last?
Your doctor will speak with you about the nerve block injection before you decide on whether or not it is a good idea. Poor pain control that requires the ingestion of opiate and other narcotic pain relievers in increasing amounts is one telltale sign that you are a good candidate. And, while the injection can help to reduce your pain reliever use, you should know that it is a temporary solution.
Nerve blocks will often last only about two weeks, so you may need to go through many rounds of the treatment for consistent pain control. While this is true, you can work with your physician to have a pump placed that can administer a more consistent dose of a steroid or anesthetic medication. This may be an option if you are experiencing relief and want a more long term solution.
Reach out to a doctor, such as Joel D Stein DO PA, to learn more about injections.