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Information for helping to manage pain.

Sympathetic Nerve Block

The sympathetic nerves run on the front surface of the spinal column (not in the spinal canal with the nerves from the central nervous system). The sympathetic nerves are part of the autonomic nervous systems which basically controls certain functions other than sensation and motor function. In other words, the autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling things people do not have to think about or have direct control concerning their function. But, there is a connection between the central and autonomic nervous systems. Sometimes arm and leg pain is caused by a malfunction of the autonomic system secondary to an injury.

What is a sympathetic nerve block?
A sympathetic nerve block involves injecting medicine around the sympathetic nerves, ganglion or chain in a lumbar or cervical area.

Why is sympathetic block helpful?
The system is temporarily blocked in hopes of reducing or eliminating pain. If the initial block is successful, then additional blocks are generally repeated and repeated again until the pain diminishes.

What happens during the procedure?
An IV will be started so that relaxation medication can be given. The patient is placed on the x-ray table on their back for a cervical block and on their stomach for a lumbar block in the operating room.

This skin on the neck or the skin on the low back is scrubbed using alcohol. Next, the physician numbs a small area of skin with numbing medicine.

After the numbing medicine has been given time to be effective, the physician directs a very small needle, using x-ray guidance to the area of the sympathetic nerves.

A small amount of contrast (dye) is injected to insure proper needle position. Then, a small mixture of numbing medicine (anesthetic), is injected.

What happens after the procedure?
Immediately after the procedure the patient will go back to the recovery area where they are monitored for 15-30 minutes.

At Neuroscience Associates of Northern Kentucky we know you are seeking relief and expert Pain Management.  Our expertise will help start you on the road to recovery.  Schedule an appointment and let our doctors assess your unique condition and discuss treatment options that are right for you.