Effectiveness of sympathetic nerve blocks in overcoming spinal pain

Review of Sympathetic Nerves

The sympathetic nerves pass from the anterior surface of the spinal column. These nerves are not linked with the spinal canal and the nerves that supply sensation and strength to your legs. The sympathetic nerves are the part of the self- sufficient nervous system, that individually controls certain functions such as blood flow and temperature adjustment of the arms and legs, sweating, pulse rate, digestion and blood pressure. When the regulation of the sympathetic nervous systems is changed several types of pain arise including Complex Regional pain syndrome and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

 What is a sympathetic nerve block?

 The sympathetic nerve block is carried by injecting numbing medications near the sympathetic nerves in the lower back or neck. With the help of the injections sympathetic nervous system in that region is temporarily numbed for the purpose of reducing and eliminating pain. In the case if the pain persists after the sympathetic nerve block, then a diagnosis of sympathetic intervening pain is confirmed

The effects of anesthesia can be felt at times, and may lasts longer than it is expected. The basic purpose is to restore the sympathetic tone to a normal state. Once the initial block is successful, then additional blocks are repeated if the pain is significantly reduced

What will happen during the procedure?

The procedure will be initiated by an IV line to ensure that the patient does not feel any discomfort. The patient is asked to lie on an X-ray table and the area to be treated is cleaned thoroughly. The physician will numb a small area of the skin with a local anesthetic that may be felt a bit stingy for few seconds. The physician will use the X-ray guidance to insert the needle and ensure that it is reached to its desired point of sympathetic nerves. Soon after the needle is injected a contrast dye is injected to make sure that the medicine is injected into the targeted sympathetic nerves. Once the above procedure is done slowly a numbing medicine is injected

What to expect after the procedure?

20 to 30 minutes after the procedure you will be allowed to move the affected areas to stimulate your usual pain symptoms. In the initial few hours you may or may not feel the improvements after the injection subject to the sympathetic nerve blocks may be carrying your pain signals. You may experience increased temperature in the effected region for several hours after the sympathetic nerve blocks. If the sympathetic nerve block is given in the neck you might feel a slight drooping of the eyelid and redness of the eyes for few hours