Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

Cervical sympathetic blocks (Stellate Ganglion blocks) and Lumbar sympathetic blocks relieve pain originating the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is a separate system that is responsible for temperature, light touch, skin color, pain, and hair growth. When pain originating from the sympathetic nervous system is suspected, these fibers can be blocked in the neck or the low back. These procedures are designed to treat symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or Causalgia (CRPS).

 A local anesthetic is utilized for the injection. The patient may feel warmth or experience a temperature change in the affected arm or leg. This is a sign that the sympathetic fibers have been blocked. Even though this reaction is temporary, pain relief can persist and the abnormality of the sympathetic nervous system can be reversed. To achieve more permanent relief, repeated injections are typically needed, along with supportive physical therapy. Injections may be performed monthly or more often than that to ensure a successful outcome.

Side effects of Sympathetic Blocks are rare and your provider will discuss them with you in advance. You will be asked to sign a written consent prior to the procedure, as well as a brief medical history questionnaire. You will also be asked to refrain from taking any NSAIDs or other blood-thinning medications within three days of the procedure in order to prevent increased bruising.

 Sympathetic Blocks, as with most other procedures, are performed in our fluoroscopy suite. X-ray, or fluoroscopy, is used for nearly all injections to ensure safety and accuracy. Intravenous sedation is typically not offered but a mild sedative may be utilized, depending on your medical condition. 


Should any anesthesia be administered, driving will not be possible directly after the procedure, and arrangements will need to be made by the client for transportation to and from the LifeLinc facility. Normal activities may be resumed the day after the procedure, unless the physician directs the client otherwise. It may take several weeks to experience the full amount of relief. A follow-up evaluation will be scheduled to monitor and access the results of the procedure.

Sympathetic blocks can produce dramatic results in a patient suffering from an abnormality of the sympathetic nervous system. Please contact our office with any additional questions regarding this procedure.