Celiac Plexus Block for Chronic Pain in Colorado

Posted by MD Pain on July 25, 2023

Person with Chronic Pain

Abdominal pain could indicate a spectrum of issues in your body, including pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, or even certain types of cancer.

Some conditions may present with upper abdominal pain, while others may cause lower abdominal or pelvic pain. Is there anything you can do for abdominal pain? A celiac plexus block for chronic pain can be a useful treatment for this type of pain.

Common Causes of Abdominal Pain

Most pain you experience in your abdomen must pass through several plexus nerve bundles, including the celiac plexus. This nerve bundle sits near the upper lumbar area of your spine around the L1 vertebra, close to the diaphragm and wrapping around the aorta.

Problems with certain organs or systems in your body can send pain signals from that area through the celiac plexus to the brain, which interprets the pain signals as dull throbbing, sharp stabbing, or other unpleasant sensations. Using anesthetic around the celiac plexus can offer temporary pain relief for many individuals.

But what are some common causes of upper abdominal pain? The following are some typical conditions that cause upper abdominal pain:

  • Appendicitis
  • Cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Kidney infection
  • Pancreatitis
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Getting temporary relief through pain management while you treat the underlying cause of your pain can be essential for people suffering from serious illness or injury. So, what’s involved in a celiac plexus block for chronic pain in the abdomen?

Step 1: Performing the Celiac Plexus Block

The celiac plexus block procedure involves injecting steroids or pain management drugs like epinephrine or clonidine on either side of the celiac plexus to relieve patients of their abdominal pain temporarily. While you’re lying face down on the table, the doctor will first inject a local anesthetic to numb the area on one side of your spine.

The next injection contains dye for contrast imaging to monitor the movement of the medication and ensure it affects the appropriate areas. The doctor will use appropriate imaging techniques to guide the needle and inject the pain relief medication. The final injection contains a steroid or pain relief drug that temporarily blocks pain signals through the celiac plexus.

Step 2: Monitoring for Additional Pain Management

After your injections, the nurses, doctors, and other medical staff will monitor your vital signs and ensure you don’t experience any complications from the procedure for an hour. Afterward, you can have a friend or family member pick you up. You might experience side effects at home, such as bruising or soreness around the injection site, diarrhea, low blood pressure, or muscle spasms or weakness.

Most patients get a few weeks to a few months of relief from a celiac plexus block. If you don’t get relief from the procedure, you and your pain management professional should discuss alternative treatment options.

However, if you get relief from a celiac plexus block, you can continue the procedure for as long as necessary to manage your pain from temporary conditions. You and your doctor should discuss a neurolytic block procedure for more chronic conditions, such as pancreatic cancer.

Step 3: Performing a Neurolytic Block for Long-Lasting Relief

A neurolytic block procedure is basically the same as a celiac plexus block for chronic pain in the abdomen. Instead of injecting a temporary pain relief drug into the area, the final injection contains an alcohol like ethanol or phenol to destroy the nerve endings in the celiac plexus permanently.

By destroying the nerves, you could experience permanent relief from abdominal pain due to chronic or acute conditions, including advanced cancers of the colon, gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas. Your doctor might recommend a neurolytic block for severe conditions if you get temporary relief from a celiac plexus block.

Contact MD Pain for Abdominal Pain Issues in the Greater Denver Area

If you have abdominal pain and need relief while treating the cause, consider a celiac plexus block for chronic pain. At MD Pain in Englewood, CO, we strive to make each patient as comfortable as possible while they treat for cancer, autoimmune diseases, or infections. Call us today at 303-750-8100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a doctor and anesthesiologist.