A sympathetic block is a diagnostic procedure, which involves placing a local anesthetic such as Novocaine in or near the area that controls the sympathetic nerves.
Sympathetic nerve blocks are also referred to as Stellate(cervical) or Lumbar Sympathetic blocks.
Stellate and Lumbar Sympathetic blocks are both procedures we do at Arizona Pain Treatment Centers.
The sympathetic nerves are a group of nerves that run in front of the spinal column. They are part of the autonomic nervous system and control many types of bodily functions such as sweating, blood pressure and digestion. Occasionally, these nerves can be injured causing pain. This can result in a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS, formerly known as RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.
Sometimes the injury can be minor such as a sprain. Other causes of sympathetically mediated pain include Herpes Zoster or Shingles, Raynaud’s Disease, Phantom Limb Pain, Cancer, frostbite or other vascular problems.
Pain from a problem in the sympathetic nervous system can be confined to an arm or leg or develop to include several body areas. The symptoms of a problem with the sympathetic nerves can be pain, which can be described as “burning” in nature. Sometimes, there is increased or decreased temperature in the affected area.
Often our pain team may suggest a diagnostic procedure, which involves placing a local anesthetic such as Novocaine in or near the area of the spine that controls the sympathetic nerves. If, after the injection, the pain disappears or lessens then the sympathetic nerves may be a cause of your pain.