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Truth Talk Thursdays: Nerve Block Injections

July 14, 2016

For those of you unaware, nerve block injections are a very big part of my own recovery process. There is a big possibility that I will always suffer from Fibromyalgia, however, even so, having these injections once a week helps me maintain a semi-normal level of functionality. Nerve blocks are used to help relieve and maintain a more manageable level of pain for those who suffer from chronic pain illnesses. The main theory is that by injecting an anesthetic in a plexus (cluster) of nerves, it will numb the surrounding nerves for a short period of time, giving the patient enough relief to live an easier life. For some, the effects leave them with more mobility for a time, and for others it may help them exercise so they can focus on repairing or building muscle. The problem with these injections however, is that they don't always work. It isn't as exact of a science as it could be, but for better advancements of this treatment to happen, the illnesses that these injections are geared towards much be researched more. Another downfall is that for some people, the type of drug and dosage may have one kind of effect - say a pain reduction of 20% over six months - than for another person with the same weight and metabolism - pain reduction of 10% over one week. The biggest thing to keep in mind with nerve blocks is that they cannot function alone. With only the injections, yous are faced with only one way to alleviate your pain, where chronic pail illnesses tend to need several different sources of pain relief to get the best results. Personally, I get my own injections on Wednesdays and I aim to go to aquafit on Friday, giving myself not only a way to be active, but a way to help alleviate the pain the injections cannot. 

 

 

 

Now that you are aware that it may work for you but may not, let's get into what you need to bring with you:

  • medical history including all medications and their doses

  • a list of your allergies

  • loose and comfortable clothing

  • a snack and water

  • a friend who can drive you to and from; as well as stay with you in the room

  • any medications you have to take during the time of your appointment

  • a notebook to take notes

  • optional: a pillow, cold spray to numb the injection sites, a book to read 

 

 

This spray is my current fave simply because it doesn't smell as bad as the other ones. It's a very easy point and spray and you can ask your doctor if they can use it to numb your skin before injection because you are very sensitive. It's not cheap (this one's on Amazon) and it'll dry out your skin a bit over time, but it's made the injections in my neck go from a 10/10 on the pain scale down to a 7/10 and any relief I get, I'll take. 

 

Some points to remember for after your appointment:

  • try to book the rest of your day off if you can - you will be exhausted

  • its normal to feel sore at the site of injection

  • you need to eat after!!!!!!

  • take it easy for the next few days - doing too much will undo the work of the injections

Things that may affect your injection outcomes:

  • your body chemistry and metabolism

  • if you have a fever

  • your period

  • the weather

  • doing too much too fast

  • how you sit and how much you sleep

Sleep is a HUGE game changer. I tend to sleep better after my injections, however, if you cannot sleep your body WILL reject the nerve blocks, and you will be left in agony. 

 

Also, red flags that you should look out for:

 

  • elevated or dropped blood pressure

  • excessive bleeding from the injection site

  • lose of bowel functioning

  • seizure

  • signs of infection at the site of injection

  • allergic reaction

  • sudden and severe headache (or migraine)

  • vomiting

  • feeling high or hazy

  • blurred vision 

If you experience ANY of these symptoms, please get yourself to your nearest clinic or ER ASAP. 


Now, seeing as how I am not a medical professional and I'm only speaking from my own experience, if you'd like more info on nerve blocks, the drugs usually used, and more, I've provided some of my favourite links below. 
 

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/nerve-blocks

 

http://chronicpainmanagement.ca/treatment-philosophy/types-of-treatments/

 

http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/injections-back-pain-relief

 

 

Until next time,

Theresa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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