A lumbar sympathetic block is an injection of anesthetic (numbing) medication that can effectively control chronic pain. The injection works by blocking the sympathetic nerves near the spine.
It can be used to treat conditions such as:
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (including Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and causalgia)
- Phantom Pain
- Vascular insufficiency
- Shingles involving the legs (herpes zoster infection)
- Peripheral neuropathy
This therapy targets the sympathetic nervous system, a group of nerves found along the spinal column’s front side. They are part of the autonomic nervous system and control many bodily functions, including sweating, heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure. Sometimes these nerves can continue to transmit pain following an injury even after an injury has healed.
A lumbar sympathetic block can be diagnostic and therapeutic. If the initial injection is used for diagnostic purposes, your doctor will use it to help find the cause of your symptoms. If the procedure is effective, your doctor may recommend a series of these blocks, which may help provide more long term pain relief.