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  • What the heck is a Nerve Block?

    You are an athlete. Competitive athletes injure themselves and occasionally injure themselves so severely that they need surgery. It just goes with the territory and is widely accepted as part of the price you pay to compete at a high level.

    But what also occurs with surgery? Pain. Often times severe pain. You are probably familiar with the common pain pills widely prescribed to treat this type of pain. Possible side effects include constipation, nausea, vomiting, not to mention if you take too many you will either fry your liver or quit breathing, and there is always the potential of long term addiction.

    But there is another way to help control postoperative pain. It is known as a peripheral nerve block. To accomplish a nerve block an anesthesiologist first has to identify where the great nerves that feed the area undergoing surgery are located. He does this either with an ultrasound machine or a nerve stimulator. Once they are identified, he injects local anesthetic around the nerves. This is similar to when the dentist injects Novocain before beginning a dental procedure.

    Over approximately 15 minutes the targeted area will slowly go numb. This numbness will continue throughout the surgery and even into the recovery phase at home. Most peripheral nerve blocks wear off at 12-15 hours but there are multiple ways that they can be extended out if desired. This includes placing an indwelling catheter to continuously inject local anesthetic after surgery, to new varieties of local anesthetic that have a longer effect.

    Risks of peripheral nerve blockade include bleeding, infection, and even lasting nerve damage. However, all of these risks are very rare and peripheral nerve blocks are done across the country daily with great success.

    James W. Stephens, DO
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. jester9168's Avatar
      jester9168 -
      Wow. Sounds like acupuncture. Pretty cool stuff. Got to love these articles.
    1. Wing Chun's Avatar
      Wing Chun -
      Pretty much is acupuncture! It's amazing how the acupuncturist uses those needles.
    1. MikeP's Avatar
      MikeP -
      There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me... or leave me. Accept me - or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don't fit your idea of who I should be and don't try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad - you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you
    1. BigLouis's Avatar
      BigLouis -
      A friend of mine used two hand machines on me Tues and its is similiar to acupuncture but with a direct current to relieve inflamtion of the nerves in my lower back, that shit works, thought it was BS but it does work for real !!!
    1. Ryand's Avatar
      Ryand -
      Spinal manipulation, manual therapies, and specifically Active Release Technique is much less invasive for peripheral nerve entrapments, or even entrapments/ inflammation/ irritation around the nerve root.

      All of this can be accomplished by a properly trained , DO, DC, or DPT. Occasionally there is an MD interested enough in the musculoskeletal system that has taken an emphasis in this scope of practice and can treat it effectively. I.E. -- the father of manual medicine Karol Lewit.

      Informative post...but I would take a much less invasive route first rather than injecting shit into my body. All that does is cover the symptoms and not treat the cause. Just like cortisone.
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