The Vault

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December 19, 2016
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
December 23, 2016

An Overview of Lumbar Sympathetic Block

A Lumbar Sympathetic Block is a non-invasive procedure in which a physician injects pain medication around or into the nerves of the back on each side of the spine. It is a safe procedure with an overall goal of blocking pain from the nerves extending to the legs on the same side that the technique is performed.  The block helps determine if there is nerve chain damage, and if it’s responsible for the pain. The injection typically takes from ten to thirty minutes and is used to reduce pain, sweating, swelling, discoloration, or other uncommon changes, and possibly lead to increased mobility. A lumbar sympathetic block may be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Sciatica
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Sympathetic Maintained Pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Post-surgical or post-injury limb or joint pain(leg)
  • Reynaud’s Syndrome
  • “Trench Foot”
  • Urogenital pain
  • “phantom” leg pain after amputation
  • Herpes Zoster (shingles)

Some patients suffering from neuropathy or Peripheral Vascular Disease may experience symptom relief.

 

The physician initiates the procedure with the individual lying on their stomach. They are given sedation to numb the injection area but remain conscious. EKG, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure are watched throughout the procedure. The physician uses an x-ray machine to position injection area along the outside of the spine. Confirmation that the medication will spread to the desired area is performed using a test dose of dye. The procedure is complete as soon as the injected drug has reached the entire specified area. A feeling of warmth and reduced or resolved pain may be present afterward. Injections are repeated from two to more than ten times, based on effectiveness.

 

Do not have a lumbar sympathetic block if you have poorly controlled heart disease or diabetes, are allergic to any procedural medications, are taking a blood thinner, or suffering from an active infection.

 

If you have been experiencing worsening pain and would like to find out if you can be evaluated for a lumbar sympathetic block, please contact us at either our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.

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