Sympathetic Nerve Block Mansfield TX
Sympathetic nerves are a network of nerves that spread out from your spine to other body parts. They help in controlling several involuntary body functions such as digestion, sweating, blood flow, etc.
When the sympathetic chain is damaged or irritated, you will begin to feel pain. The pain which is mostly chronic could make you feel very uncomfortable.
A sympathetic nerve block is done to block the damaged sympathetic nerve chain that is responsible for the pain.
A local anesthetic is injected into the sympathetic nerve tissue to numb the pain.
A sympathetic nerve block is more of a diagnostic procedure but can also be used to provide pain relief for a limited amount of time.
Who needs a sympathetic nerve block?
A sympathetic nerve block is used to diagnose and treat pain emanating from the nerves of the sympathetic nervous system.
Patients that are suffering from chronic pain of the sympathetic nervous system may need to undergo sympathetic nerve block for pain relief.
Some examples of conditions that may require sympathetic nerve block include:
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Pain emanating from spasms in blood vessels
- Excess sweating
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- Chronic stomach pain
Preparation for a sympathetic nerve block
The location where you feel pain will determine where you will receive the nerve block.
A network of nerves is known as Ganglions.
If you feel pain in the upper region of your body, the ganglion in your neck region may be blocked for pain relief.
If you feel pain at the lower region of your body, the ganglion close to the lower spine may be blocked for pain relief.
Before undergoing the procedure, you need to first consult with your doctor.
Your doctor will review your medical history and ask you some vital questions
If you are on a blood-thinning medication, you may be required to stop for several days before the block is done.
If you have any allergies, inform your doctor to prevent any side effects or complications that may result from the anesthetic that will be used.
If you are currently on any medication, inform your doctor.
If you have any infections or blood problems, inform your doctor.
You may not be allowed to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the procedure.
How is a sympathetic nerve block done?
At the commencement of the procedure, you may be asked to sit or lie down depending on the area where the injection will be given.
You may be given an intravenous line and monitored for a few minutes.
The area where the nerve block will be done will be cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic to prevent you from feeling pain.
Your doctor may use x-ray guidance or fluoroscopy to find the targeted ganglion where the anesthetic will be injected.
When the targeted ganglion is located, a local anesthetic such as lidocaine or bupivacaine is injected. Epinephrine or Clonidine may be added to prolong the pain relief.
The procedure takes a few minutes to be completed.
After sympathetic nerve block procedure
After the injection has been given, you will be monitored for a few minutes.
You may experience immediate pain relief. You may also experience a feeling of warmth, weakness, or temporary soreness.
If you received a ganglion block around your neck, you may experience temporary changes in your voice, difficulty in swallowing, or your eyelids may begin to droop.
You may be allowed to go home after a few minutes or hours.
It is advisable to come with someone that will drive you back home due to the aftereffect of the medications that will be used.
If you feel pain relief after the procedure, you may need to undergo more procedures for a longer-lasting effect of pain relief.
However, you may not feel pain relief as sympathetic blocks does not work for everybody. In such a situation, you are not an ideal candidate for a repeat procedure.
You may experience pain relief for a few hours to months after undergoing a sympathetic nerve block.
Complications or side effects of a sympathetic nerve block
A sympathetic nerve block is generally a safe procedure. Complications are very rare and uncommon.
However, like every other medical procedure, there are side effects or complications that may occur.
- Temporary soreness
- Temporary weakness
- Feeling of warmth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Eyelid droop
- Allergic reactions