I've been going to classes at a pain clinic to help me deal with chronic pain from surgery I had years ago. After listening to all the lectures, I'm wondering if maybe what I really need is something like a novacaine injection to the sciatic nerve. Someone else in the class had that and it worked great. Would it work for me?
If you are attending patient education classes at a pain clinic, it's likely that you have been treated in a variety of ways without complete success. The team there has probably evaluated your case and made this recommendation for the classes you are now attending. The information provided in these types of classes is geared toward informing you about chronic pain and what you can do to become more functional -- in other words, doing more and staying active despite the pain. That doesn't mean there aren't any treatment methods left to try. A nerve block such as you are suggesting works well for the right patients. Usually, there must be a strong suspicion or even evidence that the nerve is the problem. Many times nerves become irritated or compressed by the soft tissues around them. Sometimes scar tissue from a previous injury, surgery, or other trauma can entrap the nerve. Injecting the nerve without changing the underlying problem is only a temporary solution. Ask your physician if this treatment might help you. Understanding your own pain patterns and the causes of chronic pain will help you evaluate new treatment ideas that come your way. Until something more effective is found, put into practice what you learn in class. This can be a very good way to reclaim your life and get back some ground lost over the years.