Maverick Medical Education is devoted to helping educate medical professionals on forms of pain relief and pain management that do not involve opioid prescriptions. One of the largest components of our educational efforts center around nerve blocks and the different ways they can be used, both pre and post operatively and in other pain management settings. Nerve blocks are versatile in how they can be used, making them an ideal consideration for a number of patients.
How a Nerve Block Works
There are two different types of nerve blocks, surgical and nonsurgical. Nonsurgical nerve blocks are the most common type. A specific block will be chosen depending on the need of the patient, whether it is ongoing pain management or based on surgery or procedure needs and the location of where the pain relief should occur. An injection of medication is administered to the nerves in question causing the pain receptors of those nerves to be dulled or numbed completely. There are different medications used depending on the length of time needed and other factors that are discussed before the procedure begins. According to healthline.com, a “nerve block can last anywhere from 12 to 36 hours depending on the type used.” Some patients may need additional administration, under different circumstances.
A surgical nerve block is used for patients with chronic or ongoing pain that cannot be relieved with other methods of intervention. By cutting or damaging the nerves or nerve cluster in question, pain relief can be experienced for longer periods of time. It could be permanent or semi-permanent.
Types of Nerve Blocks
There are dozens of different nerve blocks used in medical practices around the world. The most commonly known nerve block is an epidural which is often used to relieve pain during childbirth. Other types of nerve blocks are the Interscalene and Axillary nerve blocks, used to block pain in the shoulder and upper arm respectively, taught in our Regional Anesthesia- Essentials course and the TAP nerve block, used for the lower abdomen, and taught in our Regional Anesthesia- Advanced course. Every nerve block uses anatomical markers for administration and often benefits from the added assistance of ultrasound imaging to ensure the anesthesia is administered to the correct nerve or nerve cluster, providing the best outcome for our patients.
Considerations for Nerve Blocks
Like any medical procedure, there are some concerns and considerations for nerve blocks. The first is that the nerve block may not work depending on the patient or depending on placement. We train our Mavericks and give them opportunities to practice in our courses so they have the experience they need to place the block and to adjust as needed by the patient. Everybody metabolizes medicine and chemicals differently so the length of the block will vary, too. Some may experience tenderness or slight bruising around the injection site. Very rarely are there more serious considerations, although medical professionals will always discuss these ahead of time as part of their visit with their patients.
To learn more about adding these pain management techniques to your skill set and to obtain the continuing education hours you need, see our courses. Our Maverick Medical Education team is ready to teach you the principles behind nerve blocks and other pain management strategies to better help your practice, wherever that may be.