Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block Injection

What is a Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block Injection?

For patients with pain related to their sympathetic nervous system, a lumbar block (also known as a sympathetic block) can diagnose and, in some cases, relieve pain. A lumbar nerve block involves an injection of a local anesthetic into the lower back. A lumbar sympathetic block also helps determine if circulation issues can be improved with some diseases from a diagnostic point of view. Short-term pain relief will result from the treatment. Depending on the patient’s symptoms and the number of blocks received, long-term relief may also be experienced. This injection may provide chronic leg and foot pain relief caused by conditions such as:

  • Shingles
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Vascular insufficiency
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Phantom limb pain

How Do Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block Injections Work?

During this minimally invasive procedure, a hollow needle is inserted into the lumbar sympathetic ganglia with the aid of fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray guidance. The use of fluoroscopic guidance allows the doctor to monitor the needle movement in real-time. Once the needle is placed correctly, a numbing agent or corticosteroids are injected into the affected area. The use and combination of these medications can provide pain relief and decrease inflammation.

Temporary weakness and numbness in the legs may occur after treatment. Directly following the procedure, we will monitor your condition for approximately 30 minutes and ensure that you are able to walk normally. We recommend that you do not drive immediately after receiving the injection as it may be unsafe. Soreness at the injection site is expected in the first couple of days, and it can be relieved by using analgesics and ice packs.

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lumbar sympathetic nerve

How to Prepare for Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block Injections

Your physician must conduct a medical exam and evaluate your medical and family history to determine your eligibility for lumbar sympathetic nerve block injection. This step is crucial as corticosteroids may temporarily elevate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and affect patients with bleeding problems. Those who receive a lumbar sympathetic nerve block injection often experience immediate relief, but this is often the result of the anesthetics. Once these wear off, it takes 2 to 3 days for the steroids to affect and provide long-term relief.

Depending on the symptoms, and to experience relief for longer, patients may need to receive more than one injection. If you or anyone you know is currently experiencing any of the previously discussed conditions, we encourage you to reach out to our team today. Our expert interventional pain specialists possess decades of experience in pain management and treatment. We would be happy to answer any question or concern you may have about your condition and the treatment options we offer.

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