Neuropathic pain is a condition that causes shooting, burning, or throbbing pain in the limbs and throughout the body from damaged peripheral nerves. While there is no exact cause of this condition, physicians believe lifestyle choices, traumatic injuries, and genetics may lead to chronic nerve pain. Treatment for this condition depends on its severity and symptoms, but peripheral nerve blocks may be used to manage moderate to severe cases of neuropathic pain that are localized to one area of the body. Peripheral nerve blocks are an injection therapy that uses an anesthetic and steroid mixture to block sensations of pain from specific areas of the body. Patients often experience pain relief that lasts anywhere from several weeks to a few months with peripheral nerve blocks. Supplemental therapies for this condition may also be considered for complete pain relief.
Before the procedure, an Orthopedic and Wellness physician will locate the patient’s pain. Peripheral nerve blocks are most commonly used on the arms and hands, legs and feet, or face. Once the affected area has been identified, the physician will cleanse the injection site and administer a sedative intravenously to minimize pain and discomfort. During the nerve block, the physician will position the needle so it is touching the damaged nerves causing pain to determine whether they are in the correct position. Patients may experience a sharp sensation when the tip of the needle touches these nerves. When the nerves are located, the physician will inject the anesthetic and steroid mixture near or into a specific bundle of nerves. Patients may begin to feel immediate pain relief after the injection. As soon as all of the affected nerves have been treated, the physician will remove the needle and bandage the injection site(s).
You may experience pain relief several hours after the procedure. This will likely diminish after the local anesthetic wears off. Complete pain relief may not be felt until 7 to 10 days after the procedure. This is usually how long it takes for the steroids to begin their anti-inflammatory treatment. Patients may experience muscle spasms, soreness near the injection site, a neckache or backache, warmth in the upper or lower extremities, or numbness around the injection. These symptoms are normal and should subside within a few days. If a patient develops a rash, fever, or shortness of breath, he or she must call Orthopedic and Wellness immediately or visit an emergency department for care.