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Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block


A lumber sympathetic nerve block is a treatment is used to reduce or eliminate pain that occurs within the nerves located in the lumbar sympathetic block. These nerves are located on both sides on the spinal cord, and they can become irritated due to inflammation that occurs in the lumbar disks, lack of proper blood flow, or compression due to inflammation with the peripheral tissue of the spinal cord. These nerves are present within a large area of the body, and in some cases, an injection will allow the patient to experience complete symptom relief.

Conditions Treated

The use of a lumber sympathetic nerve block is generally must effective for the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain in the lumber area
  • Discomfort of the lower extremities
  • Conditions that result in swelling, inflammation, or constriction within the blood vessels
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Pain that is associated with neuropathy.
  • People who have active shingles
  • Reflex sympatric dystrophy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

The earlier the lumber sympathetic nerve block is used, the more effective it has shown to be. While it can reduce pain for many of the previously listed conditions when addressed during the early stages, it may not be effective for pain that has persisted over an extended period of time. For many cases, your doctor may want to try the lumber sympathetic nerve block prior to using surgical treatments that are more invasive.

Recovery and Benefits

Using a lumbar sympathetic nerve can help patients experience pain relief without the need for surgery. By blocking off the nerve with an injection, the nerve will no longer be able to send pain signals to the brain, which results in relief without the need for medication or additional treatments. While this treatment can be more effective for some than others, those who do feel relief get it almost instantly.

The injection used for a lumbar sympathetic nerve may contain one or two medications. The first medication used is an anesthetic, and it works to numb the nerve and surrounding region. However, in some cases, additional medication may also be used in the injection, which works to prolong the effects of the anesthetic and result in pain reduction for a longer period of time. Some other medications used in conjunction with the anesthetic include epinephrine, steroids, or clonidine. Different health factors, level of damage, and the amount of pain present are used in conjunction to determine if the anesthetic alone will be effective, or if an additional medication should be used to provide adequate results.

With the lumbar sympathetic nerve block, the injection process is quick and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Due to the quick acting effects of the anesthetic, patients who are looking for immediate pain relief find that this treatment is their best option. Prior to using the lumbar sympathetic nerve block, imaging treatments may be used to find the exact location of the damaged nerve, which will enable to physician to make the injection within the area needed for pain relief the first time around. This will eliminate the need for further treatments due to inaccurate placement.

In order to determine if the lumbar sympathetic nerve block injection is effective, the first injection is generally provided, and the patient is asked to examine the effects and determine pain relief. In most cases, four to six injections will be needed for complete relief, but some patients will require up to 10 shots during one treatment episode. By ensuring the shot is effective prior to moving forward with further injections, the patient is able to determine if this treatment reduce or eliminate pain, or if there is a need to explore alternative treatment options.

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