How Effective Are Nerve Blocks for Hip Pain?

Jun 20, 2023 | Pain Management

If you or someone you love suffers from hip pain, you know what a devastating, negative impact it can have on one’s well-being. Even everyday tasks can be challenging, often making it difficult to enjoy the simple things in life. 

There are various treatment options available for hip pain, including medications, physical therapy, and even surgery. One less invasive option that has gained attention in recent years is the use of nerve blocks to alleviate hip pain.

Let’s take a closer look at nerve blocks as a potential treatment for hip pain, including their effectiveness, risks, and what to expect during the procedure.

What Are Nerve Blocks?

Nerve blocks are injections of local anesthetics or other medications that temporarily interrupt the transmission of pain signals from specific nerves. This can provide relief from pain in the area served by those nerves.

There are several types of nerve blocks used to treat hip pain:

Lumbar Plexus Block

This type of nerve block targets the lumbar plexus, a group of nerves located near the lower spine that provides sensation to the hip and thigh area. The lumbar plexus nerve block is an anesthesia technique that numbs pain from the body’s lower extremities.

Fascia Iliaca Block

This technique involves injecting anesthetic into the fascia iliaca compartment, which is located near the front of the hip and contains nerves responsible for the sensation of the hip and thigh.

Sacroiliac Joint Block

The sacroiliac joint connects the spine to the pelvis, and this type of nerve block targets the nerves that provide sensation to this.

Nerve blocks work by temporarily numbing the targeted nerves so they cannot transmit pain signals to the brain. This can provide relief from hip pain resulting from various conditions such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, or even post-surgical pain.

Effectiveness of Nerve Blocks for Hip Pain

The success rates of nerve blocks for hip pain relief vary depending on several factors. Many patients experience significant relief from their hip pain following a nerve block, with some studies reporting success rates of 70% or higher.

Factors that may influence the effectiveness of nerve blocks include:

Severity of Hip Pain

Patients with more severe pain may require advanced treatments or higher doses of medication to achieve the desired level of pain relief.

Precise Location of the Pain

The accuracy of the injection is critical for achieving optimal results. Medical practitioners must be careful to target the exact source of the pain; if the needle isn’t placed in the right location, the procedure can result in less effective pain relief.

Patient’s Overall Health and Response to Treatment

Some patients may have a better response to nerve blocks than others, depending on their individual health and how their body reacts to the medications used.

When compared to other treatment options for hip pain, nerve blocks may provide faster relief and require fewer interventions than more conservative treatments like physical therapy or medications. While surgery may be able to provide relief, it also comes with more significant risks to a patient’s health.

Risks and Side Effects of Nerve Blocks for Hip Pain

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects associated with nerve blocks. Common side effects include:

  • Temporary numbness or weakness in the affected area
  • Discomfort or bruising at the injection site
  • Allergic reactions to the medications used

Serious but rare complications can include:

  • Infection at the injection site
  • Nerve damage or prolonged numbness
  • Bleeding or hematoma formation

For chronic pain patients considering a nerve block, it’s helpful to weigh the risks against the benefits of pain relief. Be sure to discuss the procedure with your healthcare provider so you can make an informed decision about whether a nerve block is the right treatment option for you.

What to Expect During and After a Nerve Block Procedure

Preparing for the Procedure

Before receiving a nerve block, your healthcare provider will review your medical history, discuss potential risks and benefits, and answer any questions. You may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the procedure.

During the Procedure

During the nerve block procedure, you will be positioned comfortably on an examination table. Your healthcare provider will use imaging guidance, such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy, to accurately locate the targeted nerves. 

After sterilizing the injection site and administering a local anesthetic to numb the area, your healthcare provider will carefully inject the medication around the targeted nerves.

Recovery and Pain Relief Timeline

The duration of pain relief varies among patients and depends on the specific type of nerve block used. Some patients experience immediate relief, while others may experience a gradual decrease in pain over several hours or days. The effects of a nerve block can last from days to months, depending on factors such as the severity of the pain and the medications used.

Pain Management with HPM

Nerve blocks and other advanced pain management techniques can be an effective treatment option for hip pain and other forms of chronic pain. While they may not provide permanent relief, they can offer significant short-term pain reduction with relatively low risks and side effects.

If you’re looking for a pain management clinic, consider HPM. We have locations in rural areas throughout the United States staffed by highly trained, caring medical practitioners who use the most effective procedures for helping patients deal with chronic pain. 

For more tips for managing chronic pain, read our other blog posts or visit our website