Sympathetic Blocks Q & A
What is a Sympathetic Nerve Block?
A sympathetic nerve block is a tool used to diagnose and treat pain stemming from your sympathetic nervous system, which are the nerves that radiate from your spine throughout the rest of your body. These nerves play essential roles in controlling involuntary body functions like digestion, sweating, heart rate, and blood flow.
Sympathetic nerves are found in clusters called ganglions. Sympathetic nerve blocks are injections of a combination of local anesthetic and corticosteroids. They’re placed near or within a ganglion and interrupt the transmission of pain signals to your brain.
Comprehensive Pain Center offers stellate ganglion, thoracic, and lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks.
How are Sympathetic Nerve Blocks Performed?
Prior to your procedure, you’ll discuss your personal and family health history with your doctor. You’ll also share the details of any symptoms you’re experiencing. If a sympathetic nerve block can offer insight into the cause of your pain or provide a degree of relief, the procedure can be scheduled right away.
You might need to fast for about six hours before your appointment. Once you arrive an IV line is placed and you could receive medication to help you relax during the procedure. Your practitioner can use special imaging technology to determine the exact site of the targeted ganglion.
The injection delivers the anesthetic solution — pain relief is immediate. That relief can last from weeks to months.
How Do Sympathetic Blocks Help with Diagnostics?
Because a sympathetic nerve block creates immediate pain relief, these injections can be used to pinpoint the exact origin of pain signals. Your active participation is needed during the procedure. Although you’ll receive medication to help you relax, you’ll still be awake, alert, and able to communicate with your doctor.
As your specialist injects a small volume of the anesthetic solution into various areas, you’re asked to report any changes in your pain level. Once an injection is administered at the site of pain, you’ll feel immediate relief and be able to report that change to your doctor.
If you have questions about how sympathetic nerve blocks can help diagnose and relieve chronic pain, schedule an appointment today to learn more.