Nerve blocks are used to prevent or manage many different types of pain. Often, these are injections containing medicine that keep pain signals from reaching the brain. Nerve blocks can help relieve pain temporarily or long-term. In some cases, they may be used to diagnose a patient. For example, a specific nerve may be blocked to see if it is still working properly.
Occipital Nerve Blocks
Peripheral Nerve Blocks
Patients suffering from back or neck pain caused by facet joint problems may benefit from Radiofrequency Ablation (RA), a procedure whereby radio waves or electric current is used to block affected nerves. RA may also be used to treat leg and arm pain, degenerative disc pain, as well as neuralgia and certain types of abdominal pain.
The skin is numbed under sterile conditions using a local anesthetic. Since nerves cannot be seen under x-ray, introducer needles are positioned using landmarks to indicate the usual location of nerves. Once the x-ray shows the introducer needle in a good position, a special electrically active needle tip is inserted. Radio waves or electric current generate sufficient heat to interrupt pain signals, which can last from 3-18 months, with a typical range of 6-9 months. Approximately 70 percent of patients will get a good block of the intended nerve. Depending on the areas to be treated, the procedure can take from twenty minutes to an hour.
Most patients who undergo radiofrequency ablation have typically tried other, more conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, physical or chiropractic therapy.
Patients experiencing chronic and severe neuropathic pain due to damaged nerve tissue may benefit from a Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial. During this procedure, a special device called a Spinal Stimulator uses temporary electrodes to stimulate the spinal cord and spinal nerves. A small electrical wire or lead-containing these electrodes are placed behind and just outside the spinal cord in the epidural space. Tiny electrical impulses act to interrupt nerve conduction of pain signals to the brain.
The placement of the trial electrodes is done under sterile conditions with patients mildly sedated. Patients are monitored with an EKG, blood pressure cuff, and an oxygen-monitoring device. The process takes from fifteen minutes to an hour and the trial can last from several days to a week.
Patients who have failed more conservative treatment options may be candidates for a Spinal Cord Stimulation trial. Insertion of a temporary wire gives the patient an opportunity to experience Spinal Cord Stimulation without having to undergo a full implantation. If the patient experiences a significant increase in pain tolerance and a decrease in the need for pain medication, the physician may recommend a permanent device be placed at a later date.
Regenerative Medicine (regenerative tissue) are present in all of us and serve as a natural repair system to the body. As we age, a decrease in cell numbers may leave an insufficient amount for repairing an injury. Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that supports this natural repair system by increasing the numbers of stem cells at injury sites.
Some conditions which may be treated using stem cell therapy are:
Utilizing highly advanced image guiding technology, a concentrated cluster of stem cells is injected into the affected area. This minimally evasive procedure may help to delay or avoid surgery, and because it uses cells from the patient’s own body, the chances of immune rejection are reduced. Recovery times can vary depending on the severity of the injury and your personal health. Many patients have shown improvement in pain and mobility after just one treatment. Typically, the process of full regeneration takes 10-12 weeks. You may be a good candidate for stem cell therapy if you want pain relief without the complications related to invasive surgical procedures.