are an exceptionally common result after someone has been involved in a . Clients often show up at our office in varying levels of pain after such accidents, hoping we can help them to get on the right track towards recovery. Sometimes their pain level improves over time; other times it progressively gets worse to the point that’s it’s a constant disturbance in their normal life.
Car accidents are so unexpected. But what my clients are often even more surprised about is just how debilitating back pain can be. In our experience as a law firm, these injured victims who are suffering from this kind of debilitating pain are desperately seeking a solution. could just be the answer. Although it does not work for all patients, in all cases, the patients who do see results are often very pleased with the pain-relief they experience.
More traditional diagnosis techniques, like an MRI, don’t always reveal the exact location of an injury or the exact source of pain. More recently, techniques have been developed that serve multiple purposes, two of which are to help locate the sources of the back pain, while simultaneously relieving pain. These two types of injections serve the same purpose but are used for different parts of the back. The general idea is to inject into an area; if the pain is gone, then the causal area has been determined.
Selective Nerve Root Blocks
Selective Nerve Root Blocks (SNRB) are used to help diagnose the exact location that is causing pain in a patient’s neck, while also helping to alleviate some of the actual pain. During an SNRB, the nerve is injected by guiding a needle through a small gap at the point where to vertebrae meet. This is called the foramen.
Two medications are often used, either together or one at a time. The first of these medications is a steroid, an anti-inflammatory medication (usually cortisone) that reduced painful swelling. The second medication is a numbing agent called lidocaine which is used to reduce pain. In order to ensure the needle is guided into the correct spot, (a form of live x-ray) is used to help guide the doctor.
The way in which this type of injection can be diagnostic is almost too simple—but extremely effective. Basically, if the patient’s pain goes away after the injection, it can be inferred that the pain generator is the specific nerve root that has just been targeted. The anti-inflammatory goes to work reducing the swelling and tension in the area, and the numbing agent instantly stops the pain. It’s similar to receiving a Novocain shot at the dentist. The results are instantaneous.
Because of this immediate result, a Selective Nerve Root Block can be a crucial factor in determining the source of pain when other techniques fail. In addition to the diagnostic function of SNRBs, they can actually provide a great source of therapeutic relief for , , , and .
The reason for in the neck and back is compression. When an injury or old age causes the vertebra to push down on a nearby spinal nerve root, it becomes pinched and inflamed. The result is a debilitating pain in the neck, back, or extremities.
This technique is also used to help patients more easily tolerate . Often, the level of pain a person is experiencing can greatly reduce their ability to perform the exercises and stretches that will help them to get better. If the patient can have time without the debilitating pain, they can move along in therapy more quickly.
SNRB injections are more difficult to perform than the more standard , which is why they should be performed by an experienced physician. Since the injection site is next to the nerve root itself, it can occasionally cause pain in the area or nearby extremities to temporarily worsen.
Success rates vary depending on the primary diagnosis and whether or not injections are being used primarily for diagnosis. Immediately after the injection, patients often feel a noticeably lesser degree of pain or even no pain at all. However, this is only from the numbing agent which will wear off in a few hours. After that, the anti-inflammatory will take a few days to kick in. Once the cortisone starts working, the pain relieving effects last anywhere from a few weeks to many months. While there is currently no definitive research to clearly dictate the frequency of SNRBs, it is considered reasonable to limit the injection to three times annually.
Facet Joint Blocks
The facet joints are responsible for allowing your back to be flexible, enabling you to bend and twist. Nerves branch off from your spinal cord through these joints on their way to other parts of your body. The facet joints can become painful due to arthritis of the spine, , or from a back injury.
When the facet joint itself is the generator of the patient’s back pain, a facet joint block injection can be utilized to alleviate the pain. Similar to SNRBs, facet block injections can be both a diagnostic tool and an alleviator of pain. Just like the nerve block injections, facet joint blocks can isolate and confirm the specific source of back pain too. They also work to numb the source of pain and soothe the inflammation for the patient.
The procedure is nearly identical to that of the SNRB. In a facet block procedure, physicians use fluoroscopy to guide the needle into the facet joint capsule itself. At this point, they inject the numbing agent lidocaine and/or a steroid, likely cortisone, as an anti-inflammatory agent. If the patient’s pain ends after the injection, it can be inferred that the pain generator was indeed the specific facet joint capsule that was injected. There are very few risks associated with this technique.
Dolman Law Group
If you or a loved one has neck, back, or extremity pain that cannot be soothed, you should consider having therapeutic injections. If this procedure is right for you, it will be recommended by an experienced physician. Likewise, if you are unaware of the cause of your nerve or joint pain, you should consider one of the injections above.
Dolman Law Group works with our clients to ensure that they recover completely: physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a car accident, and now you have neck or back pain, you should seek medical treatment right away. After you have secured health care, be sure to contact an experienced attorney at Dolman Law Group. You can call us at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our .