In patients with severe abdominal pain due to the progression of cancer or chronic pancreatitis, pain management is of utmost priority. Unfortunately, standard pain management therapy, such as opioid-based medications, can have unwanted side effects.
One of the main issues with pain medications is that they can stop working as well over time. As the patient takes more medication to achieve relief, the body builds up a resistance, or tolerance, to the medication. This renders the medicine less effective at relieving pain.
The celiac plexus nerve block is a viable option for lasting pain relief.
What is the Celiac Plexus Nerve?
The celiac plexus nerve is responsible for carrying pain signals to your brain from the abdominal area. When something painful is happening in your abdominal area, this nerve reports the pain to your brain, which you then feel.
Why does cancer hurt so much? When destructive cells grow out of control, these tumors cause tissue and nerve damage in the area, producing severe pain. Abdominal pain can stem from advanced cancers of the lungs, intestines, colon, kidneys, liver, pancreas, stomach, abdominal muscles, or other organs and structures.
Chronic pancreatitis, or persistent, painful inflammation of the pancreas, is another condition that may warrant a celiac plexus nerve block. This is because the celiac plexus nerve is also responsible for carrying the pain signals from the pancreas to the brain.
How Can Blocking the Celiac Plexus Nerve Help For Pain Management?
The celiac plexus nerve can be blocked with a numbing medication in order to silence the pain signals that travel along this nerve. Once pain signals from this nerve are no longer reaching the brain, pain is relieved.
This procedure is done using a light anesthetic to help sedate the patient. Once the patient is in a face-down position, the doctor will numb the area along the spine where the celiac plexus nerve branches out.
Contrast dye and an x-ray are used to confirm that the medication will be going into the correct nerve. A pain medication is then injected into the nerve bundle to halt the pain signals from traveling through it.
Will I Have to Get Additional Injections?
The celiac plexus nerve block is quite effective, but works differently for each person. Some patients may need a couple of injection treatments while others may need a dozen.
The amount of pain relief gained from each injection also differs for each patient. Some people experience pain relief for days after their injection, while others don’t need any further injections. It’s important to note that additional injections usually offer longer lasting pain relief than was achieved with the first injection.
Be sure to follow up with your pain management doctor to confirm that everything possible is being done to help relieve your pain. By staying on top of your pain, you can live a better quality of life and resume the activities that you love.
Celiac Plexus Nerve Block in Los Angeles
Advanced Pain Medical Group provides a compassionate, expert pain management team for those wanting to explore the option of a celiac plexus nerve block. Contact us today to learn more.