A pain doctor can take several approaches when treating a patient with chronic pain. Sometimes, the treatment can be as simple as some daily stretching exercises and sleeping 8 hours a night. In other cases, the pain comes from a pinched nerve. The nerves in the body’s nervous system are what allow you to feel physical sensations. Touch, tickling, relief, and pain are specialized signals sent to indicate something is going well – or poorly – in the body. When a nerve is pinched, that means a misaligned bone or herniated disc is pressing on it, which sends pain signals despite the fact that nothing is harming your body. Doctors can find the troubling nerve by temporarily blocking pain through three different methods.
Facet Joint Blocks
Most nerve blocks are some form of an injection. The facet joint block is done to determine whether the facet joints are causing the patient discomfort. The facet joints are located around the spine and help stabilize the spinal column while allowing you to move. The doctor injects steroids around the area, and if the patient feels temporary relief, the physician has a clearer idea of where the pain comes from.
Epidural Nerve Blocks
An epidural block may occur around the epidural space of the neck or lower back area of the spine. Where the doctor proceeds with the injection is determined by how the patient feels pain. The epidural space is the small area between the nerve roots and the spinal column. Much like facet joint blocks, the injection reduces pain by blocking a nerve’s pain signals from the spine to the brain. No signals to the brain means the patient can’t feel pain.
Medial Branch Blocks
Sometimes chronic pain may come from around the facet joints instead of in them. In this case, the alternative cause is often the smaller medial nerves that surround the joints. In this type of procedure, more than one injection is often needed, though many patients claim that the process is painless compared to the chronic pain they feel daily.
While these blocks are focused on neck and lower back pain, nerve block injections can also apply to the arms, legs, shoulder, knees, and face. They are efficient in determining the cause of pain without having to take an MRI or X-ray scan. If you are experiencing chronic pain in New Jersey and are looking for relief, contact us at Garden State Pain Center today for an appointment.