Lumbar sympathetic block is an injection that can temporarily relieve some types of chronic pain. People with complex regional pain syndrome, Raynaud's syndrome, painful blood vessel spasms, some types of chronic stomach pain, and excessive sweating may benefit from lumbar sympathetic blocks.
What does it involve?
Lumbar sympathetic block is an outpatient procedure.
A lumbar sympathetic block targets the sympathetic nerves that spread out from the spinal cord. These nerves control digestion, blood flow, and sweating, among other functions.
Before receiving a lumbar sympathetic block, you may receive sedating medication by intravenous (IV) infusion. Your back or neck will be numbed with local anesthetic. Then the doctor will inject anesthetics or other chemicals into the ganglion (nerve cell cluster).
After receiving a lumbar sympathetic block, you may need to begin a program of physical therapy[LINK] to promote long-term pain relief.
You can leave the office after receiving the lumbar sympathetic block. You should rest that day, and you can resume normal activity the following day.
There is limited evidence that lumbar sympathetic blocks are effective in treating chronic pain. A successful lumbar sympathetic block may provide weeks or months of pain relief.
A lumbar sympathetic block may not be successful at reducing pain.
Pain relief from a lumbar sympathetic block is temporary.
Injecting medications can cause bleeding, infections, or allergic reactions.