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snowyowl_ecs's avatar

How painful is it to get a nerve block?

Asked by snowyowl_ecs (417points) May 25th, 2010

I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and on friday I have to get a nerve block. How painful is the actual procedure?

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12 Answers

MissA's avatar

It all depends upon your general pain tolerance. I’ve heard both…that it’s horrible and not so bad.

john65pennington's avatar

In my earlier years, i suffered from severe migraine headaches. after a bathtub of pain killers, i decided to go to the Vanderbilt Pain Clinic. my first visit, i had a #10, full-blown migraine headache. a Jamaician doctor at the clinic wanted to experiment a new procedure on me for the relief of migraine pain. a nerve block. he actually injected a nerve-blocking medication over my right eye and into the nerve, causing the throbbing. it was the fastest migraine pain relief i have ever had. the injection pain was nothing compared to the migraine pain i was suffering. keep your cool and think about a pleasant moment in your past life, while receiving your injection. the end results are well worth it. john

JLeslie's avatar

Sorry to hear you have RSD. Will you be getting a spinal block?

JLeslie's avatar

@snowyowl_ecs I have never had it done, but I would guess the actual needle is not very painful, women do it every day while in labor, although I am sure it must be uncomfortable. If my thought process is correct, seems like you can ask any woman who has had a baby what the needle stick is like (if they had an epidural). I assume they receive a different medication then you will be getting, so I guess the big question is if that specific drug you will be receiving is painful going in? I am not a medical professional, just hypothesizing. If I remember correctly there are RSD websites, maybe there is a chat room where you can ask other people who have had the procedure?

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

I’ve tried going to RSD websites, but all they have to say are negative things. A lot of the symptoms that go along with RSD can be effected by how your feeling or what emotions your currently having. Reading all the negative things that people have to say on those websites makes me sad because all they talk about is how RSD has ruined there lives. Being early in my fight with RSD, I don’t wantt to let those people ruin my outlook. I am not going to have this for the rest of my life because I’m young, strong, and have a positive outlook.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowyowl_ecs I see…I agree! I had an RSD of sorts. I never actually had the diagnosis, but I suffered from chronic pain and developed a nerve type pain in my upper thighs for months. It hurt all of the time, felt like a pin was in every hair follicle on my leg. When I took a shower the water hitting was even more painful. My whole body was kind of amped up. Anyway, I tell you this story because the nerve pain in my thighs went away after several months, even though the chronic condition that seemed to start all of this other haywire crazy shit my body was doing persisted. I kind of think the nerve pain was a sort of RSD.

Can I ask, is the pain you have in a specific area of your body? Does it feel like a knife, a muscle cramp, pins? Did you have a traumatic evented that started the whole thing?

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

About 5 and a half months ago I broke my foot and tore a ligament in my ankle. Originally I was miss diagnosed with just a sprained ankle, but after about a month and a half of walking on it, they decided to do an MRI. They actually saw that damage that I had done to my foot and because I had been walking on it the damage was unable to heal and actually became worse. I was taken out of my walking boot (which I’m for the time being) and put in a hard cast for another month and a half. After they took the cast off, I still couldn’t put weight on my foot. That’s when they diagnosed me. A few weeks ago I had a bone scan, just to make sure everything was heeled, and it was so know I get a nerve block.
The pain differs. Sometimes its just a dull constant pain. At other times it’s a burning, stabbing pain. Most of the time it just kinda feels like after you burn yourself on an iron or something hot, but it’s cold to the touch. And it’s pretty obvious where the pain is because it turns blue and purple. My mom said that it looked like I was wearing a purple sock because the was an actual line about ⅓ the way up my leg. Sometime touching it is unbearable, like what you were saying about the water. I wake up a lot at night because the sheets are touching my foot.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowyowl_ecs I am very sorry for the suffering you are going though. Just to clarify, you still show abnormalities on the MRI? You have not healed properly? Have you been able to see another orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion on what can be done? Are they telling you everything looks perfectly healed? I am not trying to talk you out of treating your pain with the nerve block, but I have always been reluctant to dull my pain, because it is my pain that let’s me know something is still wrong. The pain you describe does sound like some sort of secondary nerve pain though. Is it common to actually be blue/purple with RSD? That sounds to me more like some actual physical problem, and not just a nerve misfiring? I am not a doctor, so don’t take my questions as though I am some expert, just going off of my own experience and what little I know about RSD.

Are there any negatives to the nerve block? From what I understand the treatment does not last forever, but if it will quiet down the nerve and give you some relief it doesn’t sound like a bad option. Have you tried medication like Neurotin, or some other nerve dulling med?

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

Thank you for your concern. The purple is common with RSD. My dad is actually a doctor and he has looked at all my medical stuff. He believes that the diagnosis is correct. They mainly want to do the nerve block so that I can get out of the boot. I’ve hit a plateau with my physical therapy and they want me to get over the hump so that I can rebuild the muscle in my foot and leg. They also want to do the nerve block in hopes that it will stop spreading up my leg.
It’s possible that the nerve block won’t do anything or possibly make the pain worse. On the flip side of that though, it might actually eliminate the pain all together. If it doesn’t work or doesn’t last, which are high possibilities, I’m going to start seeing someone at Emory who has dedicated their career to RSD treatment and research.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowyowl_ecs Good luck with it. It sounds like a prudent course of action with the little I know on the topic. Lucky your father is a doctor and can help you with understanding the medical information out there. Hopefully some more people will answer your question who have experience. Usually in the evening more of the collective pops online.

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

Thanks again. Happy face. :-)

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