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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS) Message Board

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS) Board Index

I posted this message on the pain management board, but I wanted to re-post it here for more feedback. By the way, my pain is located in my left foot, and I'm not sure how a nerve block is given to block pain in a foot:

I have some questions regarding nerve blocks:

Typically, for how long does a nerve block provide pain relief?

If a nerve block only gives a person a few hours of pain relief, why even have a nerve block done? (I realize that a nerve block can be used as a diagnostic tool and as a local anesthetic for surgery.)

Is a nerve block a temporary solution to pain, or can it provide permanent pain relief in some instances?

What does it feel like when you receive a nerve block? Can you move your extremity that is affected by the nerve block? Does your extremity feel numb?

Are there any side effects, either temporary or permanent, from nerve blocks? What are the risks involved with receiving a nerve block?

What level of pain, on a scale from 1-10 w/ 10 being the highest, should a person's pain be at in order to be a good candidate for a nerve block?

Thanks so much in advance for helping me learn more about nerve blocks. I am thinking about the possibility of having a nerve block.
I answered something like this recently. From my experience and articles I have read a nerve block should not be given into the site of the injury if one has RSD - true it can be diagnostic in that if your pain is not relieved and perhaps gets much worse as mine did, the Pain Management doctor will know you have RSD, but it could make it worse on a permanent basis so it is risky. If you have RSD you get a block in the spine for the lower extremity, and if you get them early enough and get several in a row it has been known to take away the RSD. If you have had the RSD for years like me it either does nothing or takes it away for a few hours or days. What the block does is block the brain from sending pain messages to an area that should not be receiving them at least not the type it is receiving. RSD is a problem with the central nervous system - blocks, I believe, sort of retrain the system to act properly, but if it has become chronic they only give relief for a short period of time. Too many can actually set up scar tissue in the spine. I would never again let anyone inject my knee or leg but if I found a really competent Pain Management doctor I would get a spinal nerve block because the first one I got cut the pain permanently by about 10%, the second by a different doctor did nothing and paralyzed my hip flexors for 24 hours so he would not give me another. I would only get it done by someone who is a specialist in RSD. Laura.
Hello Sealover, you sure asked some good questions..I'm waiting to be approved for my first nerve block I was Dx a yr ago with RSD 5 drs have looked at me and they all agree with the Dx. I've been waiting since Jan to start them but of course being workman comp I have alot of delays which I'm sure isn't helping my condition..Best of luck and a speedy recovery if it's at all possible.
Laura, thank you for your insightful input on this subject. So sorry that your pain got much worse after one of your nerve blocks. From what you wrote, I understand that it is very important to find a highly skilled, knowledgable, competent RSD specialist to do the nerve blocks. By the way, I am surprised that no doctor suggested that I have a nerve block when I first injured my foot and I was in horrible pain and couldn't walk on the injured foot. Instead, I was given cortisone shots which unfortunately caused permanent injury to my foot. Even after about 1-1/2 years of pain, no doctor has suggested a nerve block. Maybe it is not appropriate treatment for me since I have bone pain? I don't know. But I am still searching for a doctor that can help me.

Mae, how frustrating it is for you to have to wait for workman's comp to approve treatment. It's terrible to have your nerve block delayed. I hope that you will write about your experience with your nerve block on this board. I also hope that you are helped by the treatment and that your pain is relieved.
In your original post you did not indicate why you think you have RSD or what type of pain you are having. Burning pain is the one think that I think is very constant in all RSD patients, as is sensitivity, but the sensitivity can be to touch, cold, heat. Most people have swelling, some color changes and if not active, muscle atrophy. Because I forced myself to the pool right after my accident before I even knew RSD existed, I kept the blood flow going and the muscles working somewhat, so I never got the color changes or the atrophy. I am sure I would have if I had not forced myself to go to the pool along with the phsio therapy sessions. In fact it was the Physio Therapist who suggested I ask my doctor about RSD - too bad he did not believe it and waited to send me to Pain Management Doctor for over a year. Nerve blocks are given for more than one condition. An Epidural given to pregnant women is actually a full lower body nerve block and the same type I had when I had my Melanoma removed to prevent the RSD from spreading which it had done with the original cancer incision (face, hands, elbows, thighs and both legs) for 3 days, off the pain scale for 24 hours. Generally for RSD, they try to hit the specific area of the spine that connects to the nerves in the RSD area and deaden that area so pain messages are not sent. I have arthritis in my knee and lots of bone pain, but also got RSD from blunt force trama to the same knee in a car accident. You can have two things at once. When I had the full Epidural, it took all the pain away, the pain from the operation, the RSD pain and the arthritis pain - it just did not last. However the RSD pain was reduced by 10% permanent and when I get into a proper pain clinic, my aim will be to convince them to try it again to see if a further reduction can be gained so I can get off the meds. Good Luck . Laura.

It's upsetting to me when I hear that doctors don't listen to their patients or take their patients' pain seriously (I've experienced this time and again with different doctors). With RSD and acute pain, it is so important to IMMEDIATELY provide treatment to reduce pain and enable healing to take place. Your doctor shouldn't have waited over a year to send you to a pain management doctor...that's just awful, and it seems to happen to a lot of people in that valuable treatment is delayed.

I have both bone pain & nerve (burning-type) pain. When I first injured my foot, I was told that there is a possibility that I have RSD. However, I have never been diagnosed with RSD and was actually told that I probably don't have RSD now. All tests done (bone scan, MRIs, x-rays, EMG) have not provided support for RSD. I realize that there is no definitive test to diagnose RSD. But when I injured my foot, I immediately had some symptoms of RSD (some swelling, loss of movement in toes for over a month, hypersensitivity to light touch). The cortisone shots I received caused permanent injury to that foot. I think the doctor who injected me hit a nerve with the needle and also injected the cortisone too deeply. If I could turn back time, I would never had agreed to receive the cortisone, but the doctor really was convincing as to how GREAT cortisone would be for my foot and he never told me that there could be side affects.

Best of luck to you, too!
I had knee replacement surgery 11 months ago. I have a terrible burning in my leg all of the time. I can't hardly walk and will probably have to retire very soon (I am 62) The DR has now suggested nerve block shots for my knee. I had them before prior to bach surgery but they truly did not work as my herniated disc was bulging too much. I am nervous though as to possible side effects. I appreciate all responses. Thanks,


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