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Sympathetic Blocks

The Sympathetic Nerves

The sympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves throughout your body. The nerves branch from your spine. They help control many internal organs, including the blood vessels. A problem with these nerves can affect blood flow. Symptoms are often felt in the hands or feet, which may hurt, burn, feel cold, or be tender to the touch.

Sympathetic Ganglions

Bunches of nerves called ganglions control the body’s sympathetic nervous system. One of the larger ganglions, referred to as the stellate ganglion, helps to control upper body nerves. Nerves in the lower body are controlled by many smaller ganglions that make up the sympathetic chain.

Diagnosing the Problem

A sympathetic nerve block works by “blocking” the sympathetic nerves in that region by using long lasting numbing medication

During the Procedure

  • The skin over the treatment site is cleaned and then numbed with medication.
  • Fluoroscopy (live x-ray imaging) is used to help your doctor see the spine and guide the treatment. A contrast dye is injected into the affected region to help get a better image.
  • A local anesthetic is injected near the ganglion to numb the nerves.

After the Procedure

You will stay in recovery for about 20 minutes, and then are free to leave.

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