The sympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves throughout your body that branch out from the spine. They control some body functions, such as the closing of blood vessels. A problem with these nerves is that they affect blood flow. Symptoms are often felt in the hands or the feet. They may hurt, burn, feel cold or be tender to the touch.
The sympathetic nervous system is controlled by a bundle of nerves called ganglions.
Lumbar Sympathetic Chain: Helps to control the nerves in the lower body.
Stellate Ganglion: Helps to control the nerves in the upper body.
Lumbar Sympathetic Block – the injection will done in the lumbar spine, usually at the level of L3. You will be lying on your stomach during this procedure. Stellate Ganglion Block – the injection will be done with an anterior approach to the neck while you are lying on your back. Your head will be tilted back using a pillow or sponge for neck support.
Risks and Complications
Bleeding – this is very rare. This is the reason you must remain off aspirin based products for at least 3-5 days prior to the injection. Also, if you are on any blood thinners you should be off of those as well for 5 days.
Infection – this is very rare. Keep an eye on the injection site over the few days following the injection. If any redness, bleeding or seeping of fluids is noticed, please call the office and speak with a staff member immediately.
Puncture of a blood vessel – this is rare but can happen. If this does happen, the procedure may have to be rescheduled.
If you experience a fever, chills or extremity weakness, please call the office immediately.
**STELLATE GANGLION BLOCKS – you CANNOT have anything to eat or drink 3-4 hours after the injection due to risk of choking or aspiration.
This block should relieve your symptoms for a few weeks. You may have to return for additional blocks. Continue to see your physician for follow up appointments and schedule procedures as recommended.