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Sympathetic Blocks

Chronic leg pain often occurs when the spinal column experiences trauma and injuries, regional pain syndrome, blood vessel spasms, and other conditions that send pain signals to the brain. Remedy Pain Solutions provides a wide range of non-invasive, non-surgical, and non-narcotic treatments for chronic leg pain, and a sympathetic block is one of the most effective pain relief options. Please schedule a consultation with our interventional pain specialists in Marina del Rey, California, to learn more about sympathetic blocks and determine your candidacy.

What is the Sympathetic Nervous System?

The sympathetic nervous system that controls our body’s involuntary functions is often identified as a source of chronic leg and back pain. It’s a part of the spinal cord, and as such, transmits signals to the brain and other parts of the nervous system. The sympathetic nerves start from the first thoracic vertebra and continue down to the third lumbar vertebra, covering the mid-back region. When there are any strains, injuries, or other problems in this region, the sympathetic nerves carry the pain signals to the brain, leading to chronic leg pain.

What are Sympathetic Blocks?

A sympathetic block is a non-invasive, non-surgical, and non-narcotic treatment for chronic leg pain. If you suffer from injuries, trauma, or medication conditions that affect the sympathetic nervous system, a sympathetic block injection can alleviate the pain. When injected into the regions around the sympathetic nerves, it reduces inflammation and blocks the transmission of pain signals, thereby minimizing or alleviating chronic leg pain.

Sympathetic blocks also serve a diagnostic function — they allow the pain specialist to identify the root cause of leg pain. If the injection works, that’s a clear indication that the correct sympathetic nerve has been chosen. The injection’s failure indicates that another sympathetic nerve is at fault, allowing the pain doctor to modify the treatment. Furthermore, the injection may only alleviate a percentage of the pain, which indicates that more sympathetic nerves need to be addressed.

As such, sympathetic blocks are injectable treatments that identify the problematic nerves and provide instant pain relief.

What Do Sympathetic Blocks Treat?

Sympathetic blocks alleviate chronic leg pain caused by damages, injuries, or other problems associated with the sympathetic nerves — the group of nerves in the mid-back region.

Consultation for Sympathetic Blocks

At Remedy Pain Solutions, our interventional pain specialists conduct a thorough analysis to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for sympathetic blocks. We review your health history, discuss your symptoms, and perform physical examinations to identify swelling, redness, mobility problems, etc. We also run MRIs, CT scans, and other imaging tests to visualize the underlying nervous system — we only recommend sympathetic blocks if we suspect the sympathetic nerves in the mid-back region.

The Sympathetic Block Procedure

During the procedure, you’re asked to lie face down on the table, giving the pain specialists access to your spine. The skin around the treatment area is cleansed, following which the pain specialist delivers local anesthesia. Once the anesthesia kicks in, the pain specialist guides a needle into the treatment area under fluoroscopic guidance. A small quantity of dye is injected into the targeted nerve to ensure the medication spreads in the appropriate region. Finally, the sympathetic block medication is injected into the affected nerve.

Recovering from Sympathetic Blocks

You’ll experience a warmth spreading down your legs immediately after the treatment. You can return home immediately after the treatment, but you should avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day. You might experience mild redness and tenderness, but there are no severe side effects or complications. Most patients report immediate relief from chronic leg pain.