Reno Pain

Genicular Nerve Block

Best Genicular Nerve Block
Doctors in Reno, Sparks and Carson City, Nevada.

Genicular Nerve Block

Healthy knees might be something you overlook, until you suffer from deep feelings of pain. The knee is both the largest joint in the body, as well as one of the most complex. Our knees help us to sit, walk, jump, and more, and are essential for movement. So even if a person experiences short-term knee pain, or chronic pain that persists regardless of at-home methods, quality of life can be greatly diminished. The Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City areas can successfully provide a genicular nerve block, which has proven helpful for alleviating pain symptoms due to knee issues, and get back to enjoying their active lifestyle. 

What is a Genicular Nerve Block?

A genicular nerve block is an injection of medication in the knee, close to the genicular nerves, with the goal to provide immediate and long-lasting pain relief. Genicular means “relating to the knee.” 

The knee functions with the help of a complex web of bones, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, tissue and nerves. Needless to say, there is a great opportunity for pain if any single or multiple areas of the knee are damaged either by trauma or an underlying health condition. 

The four bones that make up the knee are the femur, tibia, fibula and the patella (kneecap). These bones are stabilized by the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. The ligaments and cartilage also work to provide additional support and movement, and include: 

  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament): connects the femur to the tibia, which stabilizes the knee joint
  • PCL (posterior cruciate ligament): keeps the femur from moving too far forward of the tibia

Additional ligaments, the medial and lateral, help to keep the knee aligned with the femur and the tibia above and below the joint. 

Medial and lateral tissue allow for fluid movement between the femur and the tibia, and additional cartilage and bursae (fluid-filled sacs) cushion the underside of the kneecap and the joint overall so there isn’t any friction with movement. Then there are the genicular nerves that provide sensory information from the knee to the brain. 

How Does a Genicular Nerve Block Work?

A genicular nerve block has two main purposes. The first is to treat chronic knee pain that hasn’t positively responded to conservative methods, such as physical therapy and pain medications. These feelings of pain could be due to either an injury or a health condition, such as osteoarthritis. It is also helpful for lessening post-surgical pain associated with knee surgery, and is offered as a pre-operative treatment method. A secondary benefit to pain reduction is that a genicular nerve block can help to diagnose that the source of knee pain is in fact from the genicular nerves. If this is the case, the patient could be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation for more long term pain relief

The nerve block itself is an injection of anesthetic (usually with no steroid) that is delivered to the sides of the knee in three different spots. This blocks the pain-signaling nerves in the knee, thereby reducing a person’s feelings of pain. While it doesn’t treat the cause of pain, it can help a person to more comfortably utilize other treatments or exercise methods. 

The treatment is an out-patient procedure, meaning the patient is able to return home the same day, and generally takes 30 minutes from start to finish. After sterilizing the area, the provider will use X-ray guidance to inject the needle into the targeted areas before injecting the anesthetic. The main difference of this injection versus others is that the medication is injected outside of the joint where the nerves begin, thus being incredibly effective at treating the pain. 

It is advised that patients take it easy for the remainder of the day. It’s common to feel soreness at the injection site, so ice and over-the-counter pain medications are helpful. While risks are rare, they can include heavy bleeding, increase in pain, nerve or tissue damage, or an allergic reaction to the anesthetic. If you note any signs of infection (fever, heat, oozing at the injection site, etc.), reach out to your provider immediately. 

What Are the Benefits of a Genicular Nerve Block?

There are a myriad of benefits of genicular nerve blocks. On top of being a minimally-invasive and safe treatment option for a range of health conditions relating to knee pain, there are also few risks and complications. The main benefits of a genicular nerve block include: 

  • Providing pain relief so that a person can more comfortably enjoy additional treatment options, such as physical therapy. Genicular nerve blocks are an effective part of an overall comprehensive treatment plan with a goal to provide patients with long term pain relief. 
  • Helping a patient to avoid surgery, as well as providing relief for patients who are not a candidate for surgery. It can also help a patient reduce or remove their need for taking pain medications. 
  • Due to the fact that the injection does not include a steroid, it is a popular option for patients who are allergic to steroids and who cannot receive other injection options. 

Genicular nerve blocks are a popular treatment option for patients who are looking for a low risk and high reward method for reducing or completely removing their chronic knee pain symptoms. 

What Does a Genicular Nerve Block Treat?

As stated above, there are a wide range of knee pain symptoms that a genicular nerve block can treat. While a genicular nerve block does not treat the underlying condition that is causing the pain, it is a helpful diagnostic tool that is one important step in the entire treatment plan. 

The most common causes of knee pain that a genicular nerve block is helpful with treating are: 

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that causes cartilage in the joints to break down, leading to bone changes. It is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain. A genicular nerve block has been especially helpful for patients who are suffering from chronic knee pain who can’t undergo treatment that includes steroids. These patients can even find extended relief with radiofrequency ablation. 
  • Gout, tendonitis, and injury: these conditions can lead to pain that occurs in periods, or is constant. A genicular nerve block helps to both provide pain relief as well as addressing the underlying condition. 
  • Failed knee replacement: a knee implant failure, whether that be from a total or partial knee replacement, can leave the patient with chronic knee pain symptoms. Regardless if another surgery is performed, a genicular nerve block can help control pain symptoms. 

While pain relief does vary from person to person, most patients can experience immediate pain relief that lasts anywhere from days to months. 

If you are tired of dealing with chronic knee pain and the diminished quality of life that comes with it, please schedule an appointment today with the Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City areas. We are proud to partner with you to help you manage your knee pain in the most efficient and effective way possible so that you can enjoy your best quality of life, now and in the future.

Your comprehensive treatment plan will help you eliminate chronic pain and get you back into a healthy life.

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At Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists, we know that you want to get back to living a pain-free life. To do that you need a pain management team you can trust. The problem is there are so many pain clinics that do not listen to you and treat you like a statistic which makes you feel frustrated.

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If you suffer from chronic pain, contact us today. We can help you get back on your feet with your personal comprehensive treatment plan.