A sympathetic nerve block may be the best option to treat nerve pain resulting from the sympathetic nerve system. At the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia, we proudly offer pain management services like lumbar sympathetic blocks to people living in Brunswick and Kingsland, Georgia.
What is a Sympathetic Nerve Block?
The sympathetic nerves form part of the autonomic nervous system, controlling many bodily functions such as your heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and sweating. They are a group of nerves and can be found along the front side of the spinal column. In many cases following an injury, these nerves can continue to transmit pain—even once the injury has healed—resulting in a condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). Symptoms of this can include swelling, severe burning pain, and even changes in skin color.
A sympathetic nerve block is a diagnostic tool and treatment that “blocks” sympathetic nerves in the treatment area. It can help your physician determine the cause of your symptoms. During the test, your doctor will inject an anesthetic near your spine to block the sympathetic nerves. Should these nerves be responsible for causing your symptoms, the injection may immediately offer some relief. If this procedure is effective, your doctor may recommend a series of these blocks every one to two weeks, which could give you more pain relief in the long term.
What Does a Sympathetic Nerve Block Treat?
A lumbar sympathetic nerve block in Brunswick can be used to treat or diagnose any pain you may be suffering from as a result of nerve disruption of the sympathetic nervous system. The following are examples of conditions that can be treated or diagnosed with a sympathetic nerve block:
- Chronic stomach pain
- Excessive sweating
- Pain from blood vessel spasms
- Complex regional pain syndrome: A disorder of a portion of the body, most commonly starting in a limb, which will manifest itself as swelling, extreme pain, and a limited range of motion. It can also cause change to the skin and bones. CRPS has been ranked on the pain index as higher than cancer, amputation, and childbirth.
- Raynaud’s syndrome: A medical condition in which spasms of arteries cause incidents of greatly reduced blood flow. Most typically, this affects the fingers, resulting in the affected part turning white and then blue.
How is the Sympathetic Nerve Block Procedure Performed?
Before the procedure, you’ll be given an IV line, through which you may receive a mild sedative or other fluids to help you to relax. You’ll be lying face down on the x-ray table, and your skin will be cleansed with alcohol and antimicrobial soap. Then, you will receive the injection of the anesthetic.
Your doctor will use the x-ray imaging as a guide, showing them where to place the needle before injecting you with the local anesthetic near the sympathetic nerves. You may experience temporary pain relief if the sympathetic nerves are causing you trouble, and you may notice a temperature rise in your affected limb.
How Long Does a Sympathetic Nerve Block Last?
Predicting how long a sympathetic nerve block can last is not an easy task. A sympathetic nerve block can, on occasion, offer permanent relief. For the vast majority of patients, temporary relief can be provided by the interruption of the sympathetic nerves. A progressive lessening of the symptoms can be caused by returning for repeated injections.
Contact the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia today to learn more about treating pain with a sympathetic nerve block and other effective pain management solutions. We welcome patients from Brunswick, Kingsland, and the surrounding communities of Georgia.