Sympathetic nerves are a part of your sympathetic nervous system and are located on the sides of your spine, in your lower back. They help to control bodily functions like the regulation of your blood flow. They can also transfer pain signals from tissues to your spinal cord. Lumbar sympathetic blocks are injections around or in these nerves.
Do you need Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks?
Lumbar sympathetic blocks are commonly used as a part of the treatment for conditions such as:
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Sympathetic Maintained Pain
- Herpes Zoster (shingles)
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
In order to get the best results from this treatment, you should get it as early as possible.
Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks Procedure
For this procedure, we monitor the patient with an EKG. We clean your back with an antiseptic solution and use a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, we use an X-Ray to guide the needle(s) into position around the spine. After the needle is in place, the medication is injected gradually with precision and cautiousness. Once the injection is complete, we remove the needle and cover up the area with a bandaid.
Your pain might be completely gone or lessened immediately following the procedure. Your lower extremities may also feel warm. You should have someone with you to drive home afterwards. Try to take it easy for the first day and only perform activities you can do comfortably. In most cases, patients feel normal within a day.
How long do Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks Last?
Lumbar Sympathetic Block Injections are generally given in a series. After your first injection, the nerve blockage can last for many hours. With each injection, the effects will likely last longer. If the first injection works well, we will likely recommend getting a repeat injection.
The number of injections needed for long term benefits will vary with each patient. Some patients may respond well with 2 or 3 injections while others may need 10 or more.