Nerve blocks are generally recommended for a patient who is in a cycle of Chronic pain. Chronic pain is a cycle that develops if existing pain persists for more than a 3 month period.
This problem is known under a number of names including, causalgia and reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
How this occurs is the part of the brain, (hypothalamus) sets up a cycle to protect an area of the body that has seen major and in some causes minor tissue damage.
The cycle is continuous even if the underlying original problem has been removed. The most common types include lower back pain, knee and ankle injuries. Physiotherapy, massage and medication are all ways of managing the pain, how ever they don’t always end the cycle of continued chronic pain.
A faster and more effect treatment now in common use is the method of using peripheral nerve blocks. This is where a long acting anaesthetic is used to block the original pain area , for a six to eight hour period. This is very effective in breaking the chronic pain cycle, and so allows the body to heal itself with other modalities.
The need for post-operative painkillers are reduced, alongside with the reduced risk of gastrointestinal upset . In studies it has shown significantly better pain control at 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours postoperatively.
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