About Sympathetic Nerve Blocks
February 11, 2022
Do you endure chronic pain on a regular basis, so much so that it hinders your daily life? And are you tired of OTC and prescription pain medications that barely put a dent in your nerve pain, and come with other unpleasant side effects? These side effects may require other medications to counter those side effects, and they will also have you sleeping most of your day away. When all you really want is to be pain free, and actively awake, right?
If this scenario seems familiar to your situation, a nerve block may be what you need. Our specialist, at the Southeast Pain & Spine Care, understands your dilemma and has, therefore, put together some data on how sympathetic nerve blocks might help you.
About the Sympathetic Nerves
When you have pain that derives from your sympathetic nervous system, it’s a real challenge to find the right pain pills that will alleviate that pain. However, a sympathetic nerve block is beneficial and highly effective in treating nerve pain. Your sympathetic nerves are tasked with maintaining vital bodily functions, inclusive of your:
- Heart Rate
- Blood Vessels
In normal circumstances, your sympathetic nerve does not engage in transferring pain. Unless, however, your sympathetic nerves are marred, which can then trigger chronic pain conditions, like:
- Peripheral Causalgia
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Sympathetically-Maintained Pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
There are varying “sympathetic ganglia”, located in the front most part of your spine, in your neck, mid and lower back, and your pelvis. The sympathetic ganglia are where the main cell body of the sympathetic nerve resides.
The functionality and physicality of the sympathetic ganglia are independent of the remainder of the nervous system. It is also viable to preferentially block sympathetic nerves for therapy and diagnosis by thwarting their related sympathetic ganglion.
When the nerves that supply your body’s sympathetic nervous system are inflamed or irritated, it can hinder blood flow to your legs and arms, and may result in sensory changes and painfulness.
- The hypogastric plexus (pelvis)
- The celiac plexus (abdomen)
- The lumbar sympathetic chain (legs)
- The Stellate Ganglion (head, arms and upper body)
Additionally, a disturbance in your sympathetic nervous system can also trigger:
- Neck Pain
- Facial Pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Pelvic Discomfort
What Are Sympathetic Nerve Blocks?
A sympathetic nerve block is used to alleviate pain and diagnose damage prompted by the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nerve blocks are most commonly used in the treatment of:
- Sympathetically Mediated Pain
- Neuropathic Pain – Pain that causes a feeling of shooting and/or burning pain
- Vascular Pain – Pain that builds when there is poor blood flow to organs and tissues.
- Visceral Pain – Pain in the organs and structures of the thorax, or the torso of the body
Significant and sizeable plexi and sympathetic ganglia are anatomically split from somatic nerves in paravertebral and prevertebral areas. This deems them readily available for percutaneous interventions.
Are There Different Types of Sympathetic Nerve Blocks?
Yes. Sympathetic nerve blocks may be conducted throughout various areas of your spine. It involves injecting medication into a nerve to trigger numbness, while also interrupting pain signals sent to your brain. Some different types of nerve blocks include:
- A hypogastric plexus block helps the sympathetic nerves related to the pelvis.
- A lumbar sympathetic nerve block aims to help the sympathetic nerves associated with the lower spine, impacting your feet and your legs.
- The celiac plexus nerve block affects the sympathetic nerves in the midsection of the spine that extend to your stomach.
- A stellate block consists of focusing on the sympathetic nerves of your upper spine, involving your arms, neck, head, and chest.
Are Nerve Blocks Beneficial In Managing Pain?
CRPS is a condition that can be challenging to treat. However, sympathetic nerve blocks have proven to aid in providing relief for symptoms related to clinical nerve pain. Sympathetic nerve blocks are therapeutic at alleviating and occasionally even curing certain types of specific chronic pain disorders and diseases. Click here for other ways to manage your pain while living with CRPS.
What To Expect For Your Sympathetic Nerve Block Procedure
First, you will meet with a chronic pain specialist who’s skilled in dispensing nerve blocks. You will likely be asked about any allergies that you have, and current medications, inclusive of supplements and vitamins. You may also be asked to fast for six hours before your procedure.
Prior to your procedure, you will be administered a local anesthetic to the injection site. Your nerve block procedure will also require X-rays and/or imaging to help guide the specialist to the correct ganglion of nerves. Once identified, the injection is administered.
It’s Time To Start Living Again
A sympathetic nerve block is a quick and safe outpatient procedure that doesn’t really need any downtime thereafter. If you are experiencing chronic pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our pain specialists.
The team at Southeast Pain & Spine Care look forward to speaking with you and helping you on your journey to pain-free living again. Woo-hoo! In the meantime, take a look at our blog over here.
February 11, 2022