How long does it take for a diagnostic nerve block to work?
Diagnostic nerve blocks can be incredibly effective for patients who come to Southern Pain & Neurological suffering from chronic pain. Because we can target and numb a single nerve root, we are able to pinpoint the exact area that's causing a patient's pain. For example, if a patient experiences immediate relief due to the numbing effect of the anesthetic we use, then we can successfully identify the problem nerve.
Additionally, the cortisone we use as part of the treatment can reduce inflammation and pain that result from nerve irritation.
Many of the patients seeking this type of treatment ask us how long it takes for the effects of the injection to be felt.
You can expect to see some of the effects of the diagnostic nerve block immediately. The short-term pain relief you may feel immediately following an injection is the result of the local anesthetic we use. Keep in mind, this will wear off in just a few short hours, and you can expect your original pain to return (if not worsen temporarily).
Why would your pain intensify or worsen?
If you do experience an intensification of your pain, it's likely due to the physical act of inserting a needle into the problem area, as well as the irritation associated with the steroid medicine. If you do experience this pain, we recommend applying an ice pack to the injection site.
Within three to seven days, you may begin to experience meaningful pain relief as the steroid medications take effect, if there was inflamation on the nerve.
Do you need additional injections to maintain pain relief?
If after two weeks you do not experience any substantial pain relief from the initial injection, our team may recommend a second, or even third, injection to address your pain.
However, more often than not we advise against having any more than three injections within a 12-month period. This reduces the risk of side effects associated with the repeated use of cortisone, which can affect the body's hormonal balance.
Important tips for chronic pain sufferers considering a diagnostic nerve block in New Orleans
- The fear of the injection is almost always worse than the actual injection. Generally, the entire procedure takes just 15 minutes, and we often use a local anesthetic, which removes any sensation you may feel from our inserting a needle.
- Everyone responds differently to a nerve block. This reality is at the crux of how we treat our patients. No one solution, or results, are 'typical.' That's why we work closely with our patients to determine the right solution for their unique needs and goals.
- Your medical history will dictate injection frequency. As we noted above, we can usually repeat this procedure 3 times within a 12-month period (and sometimes more). However, medical conditions like diabetes will cause us to suggest fewer injections per every 12-month period.
Want to find out if you'd benefit from a diagnostic nerve block? Southern Pain & Neurological has three offices around the Greater New Orleans area (Marrero, Metairie, and Covington), each staffed with physicians leading the charge to help chronic pain sufferers regain a quality of life they deserve. Schedule your consultation today.