Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment in Dallas, Frisco, and Plano

Treatment for Sympathetic Nervous System Pain

What Is a Stellate Ganglion Block?

stellate ganglion block

A stellate ganglion block is an injection used to treat sympathetic nervous system pain on either side of the neck. The local anesthetic is injected into the nerves in the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae to relieve head, neck, upper arm, and chest pain. The injection is also used to increase circulation and blood supply in the arm. Stellate ganglion block injections may also treat mental health conditions like anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. However, it is not proven that these injections help mental illness in every patient.

If you suffer from sympathetic nervous system pain, a stellate ganglion block may work for you. We recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our Plano pain management doctors to explore your treatment options. We will evaluate your symptoms, pinpoint the source of your pain, and develop a personalized treatment plan that works for you. Call our office at 214-709-1904 today to schedule with us.

What Are Stellate Ganglion Blocks Used to Treat?

Stellate ganglion blocks are used to treat pain caused by sympathetically maintained pain (reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome), nerve injury (causalgia), shingles (herpes zoster), phantom limb pain, or pain related to decreased blood flow to the heart (intractable angina). These injections are also used to try and improve blood flow in patients that suffer from circulation problems related to vascular diseases.

How Is a Stellate Ganglion Block Performed?

Before the doctor administers the injection, you will receive IV sedation to help relax you. Then you will be given two skin temperature monitors to hold in your left and right hands. Your doctor will have you lie on an x-ray table with a pillow between your shoulder blades. Once your neck has been cleaned, your doctor will find the spot to insert the needle. At this time, it’s imperative not to talk, swallow, or cough, as these movements can cause the needle to move.

Your doctor will insert a thin needle into your neck in the voice box area and administer a local anesthetic. Then, using x-ray or ultrasound guidance, the doctor will insert a second needle into the neck and carefully inject the anesthetic medication slowly. This takes between five to ten minutes. If your pain is in your head, you will lie on your back until the medication has taken effect.

If your pain is in your shoulder, your doctor may have you sit up, so the medication works its way down. The medication can take between 10 to 20 minutes to take effect. Following the injection, your doctor will check your vital signs and continue to monitor you for an hour before discharging you.

Is a Stellate Ganglion Block Painful?

Patients can experience discomfort from the doctor pressing on their neck and inserting the needle into the neck. You may receive a local anesthetic before the block, depending on your tolerance. The local anesthetic can cause a burning pain sensation when injected into the neck. Patients may also receive IV sedation before the stellate ganglion block injection.

How Effective Are Stellate Ganglion Blocks?

Some patients will experience immediate pain relief following the stellate ganglion block treatment, but that pain can return once the local anesthetic wears off. Other patients experience pain relief that lasts after the local anesthetic has worn off. These patients can reduce their pain medication intake and participate in more physical therapy activities.

How Long Does a Stellate Ganglion Block Last?

The stellate ganglion block injection affects everyone differently. Depending on your level of pain and how early you’ve started receiving the injections will affect your body’s response to the injection. Some patients notice pain relief after the first injection. Others don’t experience pain relief until after injection ten. Many patients will require multiple injections before seeing nerve pain relief.

Do Stellate Ganglion Blocks Have Any Side Effects or Risks?

stellate ganglion block treatment

With any medical procedure, there will always be certain risks. Serious complications from a stellate ganglion block are rare, but these include infection, bleeding, or nerve damage. Other rare complications can be seizures, a collapsed lung, or an allergic reaction. The most common side effects from the injection are:

  • Bruising and soreness around the injection site
  • Tearing up
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Stuffy nose
  • A lump in your throat sensation
  • A hard time swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • A tingly feeling in your hand or arm

Following the stellate ganglion block injection, you should arrange for a ride home, as some of the effects above can affect your driving. These side effects will usually go away after several hours.

Anyone suffering from high blood pressure, currently taking blood thinners or experiencing a cold, flu, fever, or active infection should not get a stellate ganglion block injection. Ask your healthcare provider if you can postpone your treatment or other nerve pain relief options.

What Happens After a Stellate Ganglion Block?

Following the stellate ganglion block injection, you might notice a warm sensation in your arm and that your pain has disappeared or has lessened. You may also experience hoarseness and some of the other side effects listed above. It’s important to avoid eating solid foods for four hours as instructed by your healthcare provider until your ability to swallow has returned. All the post-treatment side effects are temporary, and you should be able to return to normal activities once they subside.

How Long Is Recovery from a Stellate Ganglion Block?

Recovery from the stellate ganglion block is relatively minimal. Once the side effects from the injection subside, you can return to normal activities, although you will need to avoid any difficult or strenuous activities for 24 hours. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience severe pain, weakness in your arm, a fever, or any signs of infection.

Contact The Pain Relief Center Today

Sympathetic nervous system pain can impact your ability to perform everyday activities. If you suffer from nerve injuries, chronic pain, or posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, a stellate ganglion block may help you. Our award-winning staff will evaluate your pain and provide you with the best pain management services to get you back to living a pain free lifestyle. Call us today at (214)709-1904 to schedule a consultation to start your road to recovery.

Other nerve block treatments we offer:


The most critical step on the path to recovery is finding a pain management doctor who can address your pain management needs successfully. The Pain Relief Center and its five specialized institutes are dedicated to meeting any and all of a patient’s needs. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Rodriguez and his friendly staff will help you along the path to recovery.

Our new center in Dallas is part of a nationwide development by Pain Relief Centers, geared to providing individualized and comprehensive healing and pain management services with unprecedented levels of compassion, care, and comfort for each patient.

es_MXEspañol de México