Neuropathic pain is usually the result of an injury or malfunction of the peripheral or central nervous system. Localised neuropathic pain is where the pain occurs in a specific nerve or trigger point.
The obturator nerve is the biggest nerve in the front lumbar plexus, which is a group of nerves in the lower back region. This cluster of nerves acts as a passageway for electrochemical signals that connect the brain to the abdomen, back, knees, and groin.
Pain, damage, and other problems of the obturator nerve can occur due to injuries to the nerve itself or to the nearby tissues and musculature. This may also be accompanied by entrapment, restriction, or impingement of the nerve.
Often a group of nerves that cause pain to a specific organ or body region can be blocked with the injection of medication into a specific area of the body. The injection of this nerve-numbing substance is called a nerve block.
If the nerve pain is not responding to conservative treatment, such as anti-neuropathic medication, a nerve blockis worth considering. This is not an invasive technique, but one where local anaesthetic and cortisone (a steroid) is injected into the muscle in the region where the disfunctioning nerve passes through the muscles. The anaesthetic immediately dulls the pain, providing instant relief to the patient. The cortisone will then kick in at a very slow rate, soothing the nerves and inflammation.
All the aspects of the procedure are clearly explained to the patient, along with the possible risks and side effects. A consent form is signed to confirm approval. Where required, the patient’s medical history will also be discussed to ensure that no adverse factors are present.
After the patient has taken their position, patients are given an intravenous sedation to ensure the procedure is pain-free and easy to tolerate. Upon completion, the area to be injected is cleaned with a sterile scrub. Using x-ray guidance, the physician will then insert a needle through the skin and deeper tissues. The injection contains a mixture of local anaesthetic and cortisone (a steroid). The patient will then be monitored for a minimum of 30 minutes after the procedure is over and will then be allowed to return home.
After a week there is often a very significant reduction in pain, with up to 80% of patients feeling better.