Benefits of Peripheral Nerve Blocks After Knee Surgery

Dr. John S. Michels is an award-winning physician who has endured his own personal trials with debilitating pain. A career-ending injury during his time as an NFL Super Bowl champion helped guide his decision to become a pain management specialist.

These days, he combines his considerable medical skill and the lessons he learned during his physical rehab experience to provide outstanding care for individuals struggling with the effects of chronic pain.

Here’s what this busy specialist with a thriving practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas has to say about the benefits of peripheral nerve blocks after knee surgery.

What is a peripheral nerve block?

Peripheral nerve blocks are injections designed to disrupt pain messages your brain receives from the peripheral nerves, which are those that exist outside of your brain and spinal cord.

The peripheral nervous system includes three types of nerves:

Autonomic

These nerves help control involuntary functions such as your blood pressure, digestion, and heart rate.

Motor

Your peripheral motor nerves connect the brain and spinal cord to muscles and stimulate movement.

Sensory

Sensory nerves transmit what your skin is feeling to your spinal cord and brain, including hot or cold temperatures, rough or soft textures, and varying degrees of discomfort or pain.

During a peripheral nerve block, Dr. Michels delivers a numbing agent (anesthetic) via injection to the targeted nerves, which temporarily shuts off their ability to communicate pain to your brain. 

Why would I need a peripheral nerve block for knee pain?

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in your body. As weight-bearing joints that get a workout every time you stand, walk, run, or jump, knees are also vulnerable to injury and painful wear-and-tear conditions like osteoarthritis.

Knee pain or injury that does not respond to conservative measures such as rest, icing, physical therapy, and bracing may require surgical treatment. Notably, according to studies cited by the National Library of Medicine, about 20% of patients continue to experience debilitating neuropathic (nerve) pain after knee surgery.

A nerve block that’s focused on the peripheral nerves responsible for pain sensation in your knee (genicular nerves) relieves persistent postsurgical knee discomfort and helps improve mobility while decreasing your need for pain medication.

How long does a nerve block for knee pain last?

A peripheral nerve block typically relieves discomfort for several days to weeks. For longer pain relief, we may also recommend radiofrequency ablation. This minimally invasive procedure, which is performed in the office, can block pain signals from your knee to your brain for several months to a year.

Many of our patients find that the relief they experience with a genicular nerve block and subsequent radiofrequency ablation makes it possible to delay or even avoid partial or total knee replacement surgery.

For outstanding care and minimally invasive treatment that’s designed to relieve chronic pain and restore healthy mobility without surgery, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today.

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