One of the more common chronic pain treatment options is a nerve block. A nerve block manages the pain by injecting an anesthetic in the area around the pain. This, in turn, interrupts the pain signals to the brain.
Most of the injections for chronic pain management is done on an outpatient basis. Some may be performed with the guidance of X-rays and some, without. Before a nerve block, the doctor needs to be informed if you are pregnant or are allergic to blue dye. Some of the more common nerve blocks for chronic pain treatment include:
- Epidural Steroid Injection: This is an injection given in the neck or in the back. The idea of this chronic pain treatment option is to deposit some anti-inflammatory steroid in the epidural space around the area of inflammation, i.e., the area where the pain is generating from. They are generally done with the guidance of X-rays. Side effects of this injection include a sore back or neck, especially at the point of the needle prick, and temporary numbness lasting about 8 hours in the back, neck, or the hand. If the numbness extends beyond 8 hours, it is best to consult the doctor.
- Facet Joint Injection: Facet joint is the one that helps the spine in the neck and back region move. Injecting into this joint will help relieve chronic pain in the back and the neck. This injection has to be performed with the guidance of an X-ray and a contrast dye is used to get the injection done inside the joint. Side effects include soreness at the point of the injection. If an individual finds significant relief from a facet joint injection, which is considered a diagnostic block, doctors will consider giving an injection that is more long lasting.
- Lumbar Sympathetic Block: This is an injection done under an X-ray guidance for chronic leg pains. The leg will turn warm immediately after the injection and you will experience soreness and numbness.
- Celiac Plexus Block: This is an injection given on the mid back for people with pancreatic cancer and for those who have chronic pain in the abdomen.
- Stellate Ganglion Block: This is given for chronic pain of the hand. Side effects include soreness, droopy eyes, and difficulty in swallowing.