Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

Your sympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves that spread from the spine throughout your body to control involuntary body functions such as blood flow and temperature regulation to the arms and legs, digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, and sweating. In some cases, an injury can alter the way the nerves within the sympathetic nervous system function, which can lead to chronic pain. In these cases, a sympathetic nerve block may be recommended. Sympathetic nerve blocks are injections of numbing medications into the sympathetic nerves in the neck or lower back used to relieve pain stemming from sympathetic nervous system dysfunction.

Did You Know?

The sympathetic nerves are located on the front surface of the spinal column, rather than inside the spinal cord. This is because they are part of the autonomic nervous system not the central nervous system.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I a candidate for a sympathetic nerve block?

You may be a candidate for a sympathetic nerve block if you are experiencing chronic pain that stems from the sympathetic nervous system. Examples of this can include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Chronic stomach pain
  • Pain from blood vessel spasms
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

To determine if you are an ideal candidate for a sympathetic nerve block, schedule a consultation with Dr. Greg Condie of Aspen Orthopedic Pain and Spine today!

What can I expect when having a sympathetic nerve block performed at Aspen Orthopedic Pain and Spine?

When having a sympathetic nerve block performed at Aspen Orthopedic Pain and Spine, you can expect to lie face-down on an x-ray table. Before starting the procedure, you will be given sedation and the area being injected will be thoroughly cleaned and anesthetized. Dr. Condie will then use the x-ray to guide the needle to the sympathetic plexus of nerves. A small amount of dye will be injected to ensure that only the proper nerves are being injected. Once this is confirmed, then the numbing medication will be administered to the affected area.

What can I expect after having a sympathetic nerve block?

After having a sympathetic nerve block, you will briefly remain in a recovery area until your sedation wears off. You may experience pain relief within the first few hours after the procedure, as well as a feeling of warmth for about 4-18 hours after. When nerves in the neck are injected, you may also experience redness in the eye and a slight drooping of the eyelid for the first 4-18 hours. You will be able to return to your normal activities the day after the procedure. Dr. Greg Condie will also schedule a follow up to evaluate your results.

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