DIAGNOSTIC NERVE BLOCKS
Nerve blocks can be used as both diagnostic and treatment tools. A diagnostic nerve block involves numbing the particular nerve that seems to be causing the pain. Also known as a “test block,” the physician injects a local anesthetic into the nerve. The patient is monitored after the injection and if he/she finds relief, the source of the pain is likely confirmed. If the patient does not have any change in symptoms after the diagnostic nerve block, the physician can conclude that the pain is originating from another area.
TREATMENT OF NERVE BLOCKS
If a diagnostic block determines the source of the patients’ chronic pain, a treatment block can then be administered. The injection of medication into the area can numb the nerve and reduce the amount of pain. Nerve blocks are performed with either x-ray or ultrasound guidance and involve the injection of local anesthetic around bundles of nerves. The blocks may be done in a series of three injections over duration of six weeks, but in some patients are repeated several times per year. The type of block you receive can determine how long you the pain relief will last.
Most nerve blocks last 10-15 minutes and are administered at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Ambulatory Surgery Center. Some joint injections are best performed with X-ray guidance, while others are performed with ultrasound guidance. While recovery time is minimal, it is suggested that patients receiving a nerve block arrange for transportation after the procedure.