Nerve Blocks in Cleveland, OH
Nerves are the part of the body that send signals to the brain and tell you to feel hot, cold, pain, etc. If these nerves are damaged, it can cause the brain to receive the wrong signal or no signal at all.
A nerve block is generally used as a diagnostic tool or as treatment and works by blocking specific nerve responses.
It is created by using anesthetics or chemicals that are injected into the nerves responsible for relaying the pain signal in the body. Most people have experienced a form of a nerve block while at the dentist office. Novocain is a common numbing agent used for millions of dental procedures worldwide.
Chronic pain can occur when a nerve is damaged or dysfunctional. Diagnostic nerve blocks are immensely helpful for doctors because they help pinpoint the precise location of your pain.
After a diagnostic nerve block is performed, your doctor may want to run a few more tests. Some of these include a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test and an electromyography (EMG) test. The NCV test monitors the conduction of impulses as they progress through each nerve. The EMG test evaluates electrical activity produced by the skeletal muscle cells and helps identify abnormalities.
Nerve blocks are also used as a form of treatment for those suffering from chronic pain caused by nerve damage, dysfunction or compression. This treatment is commonly used on those suffering from severe back and neck pain. The treatment can last weeks or years, depending on the severity of the case. The maximum treatment is three times per one year period.
Common Nerve Blocks Used
Local nerve blocks are the most common and use either a topical application or an injection of an anesthetic. Some common local blocks include: Novocain, lidocaine and epidurals.
Neurolytic blocks cause damage to specific nervous pathways and include chemicals. Some of these chemicals include: phenol, thermal agents, alcohol or cryogenic freezing agents. Because of these factors, the treatment is usually designed to help those who are suffering from severe cases of pain.
Surgical nerve blocks are commonly used in surgeries and is performed by selectively removing or damaging parts of the nerve. Most often this type of block is only used in severe cases of chronic pain.
Nerve Block Risks
All types of nerve blocks contain certain risks, but a higher risk occurs when the nerve block involves an injection. Because nerves are so delicate, any slight error or miscalculation can cause serious side effects. Some of these include:
- Muscular paralysis
- Muscle weakness
- Long lasting or permanent numbness
It is common to experience some mild side effects after receiving a block. The most common of these include: numbness and/or soreness around the injection site and swelling. Most of these last only a short amount of time, but if prolonged, should be communicated to your doctor.