If you suffer from chronic pain, a sympathetic nerve block may be able to target the sympathetic nervous system, thus relieving your pain.
A sympathetic nerve block can be a good choice for those with chronic pain; the nerve block is targeted to reach the nerves spreading from the spinal cord to the rest of your body. Blood flow, sweating and digestion—involuntary body functions—are all controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nerve blocks may be used diagnostically to determine the source of your pain or to treat the pain you are suffering from. The most common causes of pain experienced by those who undergo sympathetic nerve blocks are:
- Pain resulting from Raynaud’s Syndrome
- Blood vessel spasm pain
- Gastrointestinal pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Excessive sweating
Where you are experiencing your pain determines where you will receive a sympathetic nerve block. As an example, if you are experiencing pain in your upper back, the stellate ganglion in the neck area may be blocked to relieve you of your pain. Lower back pain might require a sympathetic nerve block in a ganglion near the lower spine.
The Sympathetic Nerve Block Procedure
You might be asked not to eat anything for at least six-hour prior to your sympathetic nerve block. The area where your pain is located—usually on your back or neck—will be numbed with a local anesthetic, then, using ultrasound or fluoroscopy, the correct ganglion will be located, then “blocked” with an injection of anesthesia, or possibly other medications as well. Approximately 20-30 minutes after the procedure has been completed, you will be asked to move the affected area to determine whether there has been some pain relief.
Although this procedure is generally considered safe, you may feel temporary tenderness surrounding the injection site, some weakness in the area, or you may experience a warm feeling in the area. More rarely, if you have received a block in the stellate ganglion, you could experience drooping of your eyelid, difficulty swallowing or a temporary voice change. You will probably engage in physical therapy, and may be prescribed pain medication in conjunction with your sympathetic nerve block; most people will receive more than one sympathetic nerve block as a means of obtaining the most pain relief possible.
Are you struggling with severe and chronic nerve pain?
Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists
At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.