Obturator Nerve Block is used to treat chronic hip and leg painAn obturator nerve block is a pain management procedure performed by Novus Spine & Pain Center to treat chronic hip pain that can occur following an injury or after a successful hip replacement surgery. The procedure can also help ease postoperative pain following total knee replacement and provide pain relief for those suffering from leg pain. An obturator nerve block is a repeatable procedure to help manage chronic hip and leg pain.

In This Article:

What Is an Obturator Nerve Block?

An obturator nerve block is an injection of medicine directly into the obturator nerve to stop the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. The injection can consist of a local anesthetic to numb pain or a steroid to help reduce inflammation. A fluoroscope (X-ray) or ultrasound helps with precise needle placement.

Pain management doctors often block the obturator nerve to help manage acute, chronic hip pain or pain after lower limb surgery.

Obturator nerve block uses include:

  • Diagnostic Test: To determine whether a specific nerve is the source of pain.
  • Therapeutic Procedure: To treat painful conditions that respond positively to the nerve blocks.
  • Prognostic Test: To help prevent phantom limb pain after an amputation. To help avoid injury to a peripheral nerve or to prevent complex regional pain syndrome after surgery or a stroke.
  • Preemptive Procedure: To prevent an amputation from causing phantom limb pain, injury to a peripheral nerve, or complex regional pain syndrome (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) resulting from surgery or a stroke.

What is the Obturator Nerve?

The obturator nerve is in the groin enabling muscle movement and sensation in the inner thigh. It is a part of the peripheral nervous system which helps the brain communicate with the rest of the body. The obturator nerve is one of many running through the groin area.

The obturator nerve is a mixed nerve. It provides both movement (motor function) and sensation. The nerve provides muscle movement to help:

  • Extend the leg at the knee.
  • Flex at the hip.
  • Maintain balance while standing and walking.
  • Rotate the leg away from the body.
  • Turn the foot away from the body.

The nerve provides sensation to:

  • Hip joints.
  • Knee joints.
  • Some of the skin covering the inside, upper thighs (near the groin).

Damage to the obturator nerve can be the result of a sports injury or medical procedure complications (obturator neuropathy).

Conditions Treated with Obturator Nerve Blocks

An obturator nerve block can be effective pain management for various purposes. For acute pain, the block can supplement femoral and sciatic nerve blocks for surgical procedures on the lower extremity. In addition, the block can help reduce postoperative pain following knee surgery.

Blocking the obturator nerves can help treat chronic hip pain, which may develop following hip surgery, a hip replacement, or trauma to the hip. In addition, an obturator nerve block can help relieve adductor muscle spasms, hip pain associated with cerebral palsy, and muscle spasms associated with paralysis of the legs.

Some of the conditions that can cause neuropathic (nerve) pain can be the result of an injury to the obturator nerve, such as:

  • Nerve entrapment: A nerve loses function due to abnormal pressure from nearby tissue, including swollen ligaments and pelvic conditions such as endometriosis. Nerve compression can also occur during pregnancy.
  • Nerve damage (obturator neuropathy): Nerve damage can happen from abnormal wear and tear or a sudden injury.
  • Obturator hernia: Abdominal tissue pushes through the obturator canal and presses on the obturator nerve.
  • Pelvic trauma: Pelvic trauma may occur during childbirth, from crushing injuries, or when internal bleeding leads to nerve compression.
  • Pelvic tumors or cancer: Abnormal growths can form on the bladder, cervix, and more.
  • Sports injuries: Common in sports with frequent kicking, like football. It can also happen in sports that involve long periods of sitting, like cycling or horseback riding.

Who Can Benefit from an Obturator Nerve Block?

An obturator nerve block can be helpful when neuropathic (nerve) pain causes symptoms that do not improve over time. Some of the conditions an obturator nerve block procedure may help treat include:

  • Muscle pain, or leg cramps, that occur with physical activity.
  • Constant ache near the pubic bone.
  • Discomfort extending along the thigh.
  • Muscle weakness in the thigh.
  • Numbness in the thigh.
  • Worsening pain with side-to-side leg movements.
  • A sensation of pins and needles in the groin.

Novus Spine & Pain Center

Novus Spine & Pain Center is in Lakeland, Florida, and treats patients with chronic pain with numerous therapies, including obturator nerve block. By using a comprehensive approach and cutting-edge therapies, we work together with patients to restore function and regain an active lifestyle while minimizing the need for opiates.

For your convenience, you may schedule an appointment online, request a call back, or call our office at 863-583-4445.

Obturator Nerve Block Resources

Obturator Nerve (Cleveland Clinic)
Obturator Nerve Block (Anesthesia Key)
Patient Information Sheet – Obturator Nerve Block (London Pain Clinic)
Femoral-Obturator Nerve Block for Hip Pain (Nura Precision Pain Clinic)
Obturator Nerve Block: A Technique Based on Anatomical Findings and MRI Analysis (American Academy of Pain Medicine)
Postoperative Analgesia After Total Knee Replacement (PubMed)
Obturator Nerve Block Image Gallery (Novus Spine & Pain Center)

Image Credit: Teach Me Anatomy