A sympathetic nerve block is an injection of medicine around nerves in your neck or back. This nerve block is used for problems such as chronic regional pain syndrome and pain from some types of cancer.
Sympathetic nerves spread out from your spine. They control some of the body functions you have no control over, like blood flow and digestion. They also carry pain signals. When this system isn't working right, you can have long-term (chronic) pain.
The nerves come together in groups called ganglions throughout your body. This is where the nerve block is done. Your doctor will decide which group of nerves needs this treatment.
The nerve block contains anesthetic, which usually numbs the nerves. It may also contain a steroid, which may reduce swelling and pain. Steroids take a few days, and they don't always work.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology
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