What Is Nerve Block?
There can be a pain in a specific area or organ in the body, which is caused due to a group of nerves known as the ganglion or plexus. The pain can be blocked by injecting nerve-numbing medication into the specific part of the body, this is known as a nerve block.
Nerve blocks are usually used for the management and treatment of pain. A nerve block essentially works by interrupting the way pain signals are transmitted to the brain and usually, phenol or alcohol is injected around or into the nerve or into the spine.
There are various types of nerve blocks which are used for different purposes:
- Therapeutic Nerve Block: These contain local anesthetics and are used to treat acute pain.
- Prognostic Nerve Block: This is usually administered in order to predict the outcome of treatments. For instance, a nerve block may be given to check if treatments like surgery may be successful in the treatment of pain.
- Pre-emptive Nerve Block: These are usually used to prevent any pain that may be caused due to any procedure that may cause any problems such as phantom limb pain.
- Diagnostic Nerve Block: These are usually used to determine the source of any pain and these nerve blocks contain anesthetics that have a specific duration of pain relief.
Sometimes, nerve blocks are also used to avoid surgery.
What Are The Symptoms Of Nerve Block?
- Acute or chronic pain affecting the various parts of the body
- Pain originating from the spine that affects other areas such as legs, arms, neck, and buttocks
- Neuropathic pain
What Are The Causes Of Nerve Block?
- Sympathetic nerves getting “switched on” due to:
CRPS or complex regional pain syndrome, which is also known as causalgia and RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy)
- Malfunctioning or damaged nerves
- Spasms in blood vessels
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- Chronic stomach pain
- Arthritis, autoimmune diseases, injury, etc.
- Labour and delivery
- Post-surgical pain
- Lower back pain
- Trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain)
- Occipital neuralgia, migraines, headaches
- Pain after infections like shingles
- Phantom pain after amputation
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Nerve Block?
If you are on any medications such as blood thinners then inform your doctor before getting a nerve block.
If you’ve had a nerve block in any of your limbs, you may not have any sensation in the limb, so:
- Protect and support the limb.
- Keep the particular limb in a comfortable position.
- Ensure that the limb does not become too cold or hot.
- Wear a sling if prescribed by the doctor or use a crutch for support if required.
- Take care to avoid any injury to the area.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Nerve Block?
- Don’t take any anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers 24 hours before administration of a nerve block.
- Avoid driving immediately after the nerve block procedure.
- Avoid any excessive activity involving the frozen limb.
What Are The Best Foods For Nerve Block?
- It is extremely important to stay hydrated and water extremely good for nerve health. So, drink plenty of water.
- Follow a healthy and natural diet that is low in meat and poultry.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C such as guavas, bell and sweet peppers, papayas, spinach, garden cress, hot peppers, parsley, kale, thyme, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, limes, lemons, blueberries, oranges, blackberries, kiwifruit, cherries, grapefruit. strawberries, cranberries, blackcurrants, melon, and kiwifruit as vitamin C help to strengthen the immune system, repairs damaged nerves, reduces the risk of developing autoimmune diseases, increases metabolism and reduces pain.
- Omega 3 fatty acids help to decrease inflammation in the body, prevent nerve damage, boosts the immune system and also reduces nerve pain. So, consuming foods such as free-range eggs, kale, strawberries Brussels sprouts, green beans, halibut, tuna, olive oil, nuts, salmon, chia seeds, basil, broccoli, fish broth, oregano, flaxseeds, cabbage, tofu and spinach that are wonderful sources of omega-3 fatty acids can help to alleviate nerve pain.
- Nerve pain is caused due to deficiency of vitamin B12, which is required for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Eating foods rich in vitamin B12 such as farm-raised poultry, meat, milk, eggs, dairy products, beets, shellfish, and fish help to reduce nerve pain.
What Are The Worst Foods For Nerve Block?
- Avoid foods containing preservatives and artificial sweeteners as they cause inflammation in the body and worsen nerve pain and fibromyalgia.
- Avoid foods and beverages containing caffeine such as coffee, energy drinks, tea, etc. as caffeine causes an imbalance of the chemicals in the brain and is linked to pain and fibromyalgia.
- Avoid vegetables belonging to the nightshade family such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, as they may trigger pain conditions in the body.
- Reduce or avoid consuming yeast as this can cause the yeast fungus to grow and worsen the pain conditions.
- Avoid additives like MSG (monosodium glutamate) as this is an excitatory neurotransmitter that can stimulate the pain receptors and worsen pain conditions.
- Avoid junk food such as candy, fast food, French fries, burgers, etc. as they cause inflammation, irritate the muscles, weaken the immune system and worsen pain symptoms.
- Avoid refined grains, white flour, and products made of these as these foods impact the blood sugar which has a direct link with neuropathy and cutting out refined foods and replacing them with whole grains can help to reduce pain.
What Are The Medicines For Nerve Block?
What Are The Tips To Manage Nerve Block?
Some natural remedies for pain relief are:
- Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce pain.
- Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects and reduces the level of the enzymes that cause inflammation in the body and has wonderful pain reduction effects.
- Capsaicin contains a chemical compound that stops pain signals being transmitted to the brain and is available in the form of creams and gels and can help to reduce nerve, joint, and muscle pain when applied 3-4 times in a day.
- Known as “nature’s tranquilizer”, the valerian root helps to reduce stress, anxiety, tension, insomnia and pain and is a great remedy for body aches.
- The cat’s claw is a woody vine which is native to the Amazon rainforest and has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce the production of prostaglandin hormone in the body which causes pain and inflammation in the body.
- Magnesium supplements and foods rich in magnesium such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds can help to alleviate migraine pains, fibromyalgia, and muscle spasms.
- Boswellia or Indian frankincense contains compounds such as resin which is helpful in reducing pain and inflammation and can be applied topically or taken as a supplement.
- White willow bark is also known as the “original aspirin” contains salicin that is converted to salicylic acid in the stomach and is effective for relief from inflammation, fever, and pain. Having 1-2 droppers of the tincture of white willow bark daily can help in pain relief.
- Massaging the affected parts with essential oils such as sage, chamomile and sage into the sore muscles and joint and also the temples and chest can help to calm the mind and provide relief from pain.