Walking, climbing stairs, and squatting are all possible because of your knees. The large, flexible joints make these movements possible, but knees also endure a lot of stress and pressure in the process.
When you walk, the load placed on your knees is about 1.5 times your body weight, and when you climb stairs, it goes up to 3-4 times your body weight. The enormous pressure placed on your knees day in and day out makes them vulnerable to injury and pain.
Chronic knee pain can be debilitating and make normal everyday activities impossible. Joint replacement is a common treatment for chronic knee pain when conservative measures no longer work.
At Advanced Interventional Pain Management, with offices in Texarkana, Hot Springs, Little Rock, El Dorado, Arkadelphia, and Mena, Arkansas, we offer many innovative interventional pain management treatments for people suffering from chronic knee pain.
This may have you wondering: what is a genicular nerve block and why would I need one?
Genicular nerve block
The sensory nerves of your peripheral nervous system are responsible for processing input from the environment and transferring the information to your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord). These nerves relay information about temperature, touch, and pain.
The genicular nerves are the sensory nerves in your knees. They transmit pain signals from your knee to your brain. If you suffer from chronic knee pain, these sensory nerves may be working overtime.
A genicular nerve block is an anesthetizing injection that temporarily blocks the pain signals from the nerves to your brain for pain relief.
We perform a genicular nerve block in the outpatient setting using X-ray-guided imaging (fluoroscopy). During the procedure, we guide the needle to one of the genicular nerves and inject the anesthetic medication to numb it. We repeat the injection at two other locations to numb three genicular nerves.
Why you may need a genicular nerve block
There are many effective treatments for chronic knee pain, including anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and knee injections. When these conservative treatments no longer alleviate your pain, then joint replacement surgery may be the next step. Especially for those with chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis.
But if you can’t have surgery or you want to delay surgery, then we may suggest a genicular nerve block. Pain relief from a nerve block is temporary and may last a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. If the nerve block helps you, we can repeat the injection as needed.
Though we offer the genicular nerve block to provide pain relief, we also use the injection to determine if you’d be a good candidate for a genicular nerve ablation.
Getting long-term pain relief
A genicular nerve ablation is a procedure that provides longer-term knee pain relief. During this outpatient procedure, we treat the same genicular nerves we numbed with the nerve block.
This time though, we heat the genicular nerves with radiofrequency energy, which disrupts the pain signals to your brain and provides long-term pain relief. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the genicular nerve ablation may provide relief from chronic knee pain for 6 months to a year.
Don’t let your knee pain dictate how you live your life. We offer many innovative treatments to help you get relief from knee pain. Call one of our offices that’s close to you or request an appointment online today.