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An Overview Of A Lumbar Sympathetic Block If you have been struggling with acute pain, your pain management specialist may have mentioned a lumbar sympathetic block as a potential treatment. This is an effective method of treating a number of conditions including reflex sympathetic dystrophy. However, if you are considering this type of treatment, it is important to understand how it could be of benefit to you.

What are lumbar sympathetic blocks?

Lumbar sympathetic blocks are pain management treatments which involve a local anesthetic being injected into the sympathetic nerves. The lumbar sympathetic nerves are located to either side of the spinal column within the lower back. These nerves are responsible for transmitting pain information and regulating blood flow. When a block is administered, it blocks the sympathetic nerves which can allow a reduction in pain and swelling to improve mobility. The treatment usually takes between ten and thirty minutes and since the needle for the injection is inserted into the deeper tissues it can cause a little pain or discomfort. However, it may be possible for the area to be numbed with a local anesthetic to reduce any pain during the procedure.

What to expect from a lumbar sympathetic block:

The block is administered while the patient is lying on their stomach. The skin on the area is cleansed with antiseptic and numbed using a local anesthetic. The medical professional uses an X-ray to ensure that the needle is guided into the correct position. Once the needle is placed a dye solution is introduced to ensure that the medication is delivered to the correct area. When this has been confirmed the block injection is administered. Once the block medication is introduced, the lower area of the body may begin to feel warm. The pain may be immediately reduced or eliminated. Some people also experience a feeling of numbness or weakness in the legs, but this is a temporary side effect. Patients should then ensure that they rest for a couple of days. Many people can return to their normal life and work the following day but may experience feeling sore at the site of the injection.


How long will the lumbar sympathetic block last?

Lumbar sympathetic blocks are an effective form of pain management. While the local anesthetic generally wears off within a few hours, the block on the sympathetic nerves can last far longer. The duration of pain relief will usually increase between injections. Repeat injections are usually recommended if the initial injection has provided relief. Your health care professional will usually recommend a series of injections. This can depend on the severity and nature of the problem. Some people require two or four while others may need in excess of ten.

The risks of a lumbar sympathetic block:

As with any medical procedure, there is the possibility of side effects or complications. Generally, this procedure is considered safe. Common side effects include temporary soreness at the site of the injection. However, reported side effects include infection and bleeding. Serious side effects of this type of procedure are uncommon.

If you are based in Boulder and interested in learning more about lumbar sympathetic blocks or any other form of pain management, you may visit the following website: Boulder pain management.


An overview of a lumbar sympathetic block