How a Lumbar Sympathetic Block Treatment Works

Your back has a group of lumbar sympathetic nerves that sits toward the front of your spinal column. These nerves affect functions like your digestion, heart rate, sweating, and blood pressure. 

If you’ve been injured or suffer from conditions that affect your lower extremities, these nerves can send pain signals to the lower part of your body that cause a burning sensation, changes to your skin color, or swelling. This condition is called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).

At Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute in Plainsboro Township and Manalapan, New Jersey, Ronak D. Patel, MD, and our team of experts understand how your lumbar sympathetic nerves work. At our practice, we have the expertise to provide lumbar sympathetic blocks that can relieve your pain.

Conditions treated by a lumbar sympathetic block

You might be a candidate for treatment if you suffer from:

We thoroughly evaluate your condition before recommending a lumbar sympathetic block. We don’t recommend this procedure if you have bleeding issues or infection. Because the injection takes place in a fluoroscopy suite, you shouldn’t get this treatment if you’re trying to conceive or are currently pregnant.

What to expect during treatment

When you arrive for your procedure, we can give you a sedative to keep you relaxed and comfortable. Your treatment begins with you lying face down on our X-ray table. We clean the site where we place the injection and give you a local anesthetic to numb your skin. We target the nerves on the side of your back that affect your leg directly below.

As we administer the injection, you’re awake and able to give us feedback as the lumbar sympathetic block takes place. We use an X-ray to guide a hollow needle into your skin to the affected area, plus a contrast dye to make sure the needle gets placed properly. We then inject the medication.

The process takes about 10-30 minutes.

What to expect after treatment

You may feel warmth, weakness, or numbness in your affected leg, but it should only last temporarily. We monitor you after the procedure for 15-30 minutes and discharge you once you can walk easily.

You need to have someone drive you home for your own safety, and don’t drive for the rest of the day. You also need to refrain from swimming or soaking in a tub for at least 72 hours after your procedure.

If you respond well to your first injection, we recommend additional injections, depending on the severity of your condition. You may only need two treatments, or in some cases, you could need more than 10. Our goal is to give you the most successful outcome.

To find out if a lumbar sympathetic block treatment is right for you, contact Dr. Patel and our team today. Call our Plainsboro Township or Manalapan location, or book your appointment online. Also, please feel free to send us a message if you have questions before your visit.

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