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Pain Management Procedures

Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

Sympathetic nerve blocks are used to block or decrease pain in the extremities caused by injury or disease of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves that extend the length of the spine and lie over the front surface of the spinal cord. This injection may be performed at various levels along the spine. This system of nerves is responsible for the control of functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, digestion, temperature regulation and blood flow of the extremities (arms and legs). The purpose of sympathetic nerve blocks is to block the nerve signals on the same side as the injection. Sympathetic nerve blocks may also be used to determine whether the sympathetic nerve chain has been damaged. 

This procedure is done in the office using an x-ray machine (fluoroscope) that is connected to a TV monitor and x-rays may be taken at this time. Fluoroscopic guidance is used by the Doctor to ensure proper needle placement. Prior to the procedure, the injection site is thoroughly cleansed with sterile solution. A local anesthetic is administered. While the local anesthetic takes effect, the Doctor will inject a radio-opaque dye. This dye helps provide a contrast and determine the position of the needle. Once that is completed, the Doctor will inject a corticosteroid into the nerve.

How does it Work?
This procedure is used to diagnose the origin of your pain. If the block is successful, your physician may recommend another series of blocks to help control your pain.   

After the Procedure
You will not be able to drive for the remainder of the day following a selective nerve root block. It is best to have an adult drive you home and accompany you to your home. This person should also be available to you should you require assistance at any time during the day after your procedure.

For a better understanding of interventional pain treatment services, contact the healthcare professionals at Minimally Invasive Pain Institute.  They can help customize a treatment for you and your acute or chronic pain condition. To find out if you are a good candidate, or for more information on this and other pain treatment services, read on or contact our pain management center.  Together, we’ll help you find the relief you need for the quality of life you deserve.