Nerve blocks are used to cause temporary loss of sensation in order to block pain to a particular area. Non-surgical nerve blocks involve injecting a combination of local anesthetic and steroid medication around a particular nerve bundle to prevent the nerves from being able to transmit painful sensations to the brain. Instead of pain, the affected area will feel numb or it may have a tingling, pins and needles feeling. Non-surgical nerve blocks can be used to effectively manage pain caused by nerve damage, and cancer. There are two commonly used nerve blocks for cancer pain, including:
Celiac Plexus Nerve Block
The celiac plexus contains a bundle of nerves that reside towards the back of the abdomen. In people with stomach, liver, pancreas, small intestine, colon, or any other cancers affecting the abdominal region, this plexus can cause constant pain. Therefore, an injection can be used to block these nerves and reduce pain in people with abdominal cancers.
Hypogastric Plexus Block
The hypogastric plexus contains a tangle of nerves that reside near the bottom of the spinal cord. In people with colon, bladder, intestinal, ovarian, uterine, prostate, testicular, or any other cancers affecting the pelvic region, this plexus can cause constant pain. Therefore, an injection can be used to block these nerves and reduce pain associated with cancers affecting the pelvic region.
Did You Know?
According to Cancer Research UK, as many as 90% of individuals with abdominal cancers experience short and long term pain relief from a celiac plexus nerve block.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for nerve block?
You may be a candidate for a celiac or hypogastric plexus nerve block if you have cancer that affects the abdominal or pelvic region of your body, and is causing you constant pain. To determine if a nerve block is right for you, schedule a consultation with Ascension Pain Specialists today.
What can I expect when having a nerve block at Ascension Pain Specialists?
When receiving a nerve block injection, you will be given medication to help you relax and an anesthetic injection will be given to numb the affected area. A long needle is then guided to the designated area using a fluoroscope, ultrasound, or CT scan. Once the needle has reached the intended plexus, a local anesthetic or alcohol will be injected to block the nerves. In most cases, the entire procedure takes about 30 minutes.
What can I expect after having a nerve block?
After receiving a nerve block, you will be briefly monitored in a recovery area. In some cases, the affected area may have a warm sensation. Once released, you will need someone to drive you home. You will be able to return to your regular diet and medications immediately, however it is strongly recommended to avoid rigorous activity for the first 24 hours following your injection. While nerve blocks can last around six months for most people, your results can vary. This means that you will need to repeat the injections every so often when they start to wear off in order to maintain your results.