Sympathetic Nerve Block for Pain in Dallas and Plano, TX

Sympathetic Nervous System Pain Treatment

sympathetic nerve block

The sympathetic nervous system is one of three parts of the autonomic nervous system. It basically controls your fight or flight response, as well as many bodily functions that are automatic. The sympathetic nerves in this system are responsible for handling stressful or dangerous situations. Specific involuntary body functions that these nerves affect include your heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and even pupil enlargement. A sympathetic nerve block is a type of injection that many pain management professionals use to help their patients with chronic pain.

At The Pain Relief Center, we offer many solutions for chronic pain, including several types of sympathetic nerve blocks. If you have trouble controlling chronic pain, a sympathetic block may be the solution you’ve been searching for. Our Dallas pain management doctors are highly skilled, with years of experience helping patients with their pain. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, please call our office at 214-709-1904 today.

What Is a Sympathetic Nerve Block?

Sympathetic nerve blocks are injections that can be used to both diagnose and treat pain involving the sympathetic nerves. For example, let’s say you have burning, tingling, or pain in your hands, legs, arms, or feet. Your provider can inject a sympathetic nerve block near your spine to block pain signals from the sympathetic nerves in the area. This helps them to diagnose the source of your pain.

Sympathetic nerve blocks can also be helpful in controlling a patient’s chronic pain from certain conditions. To determine if this form of treatment is right for your condition or pain, we recommend speaking with a pain management specialist about your symptoms. We will evaluate your symptoms, identify the source of your pain, and develop a personalized treatment plan that targets your needs.

How Do Sympathetic Blocks Work?

A sympathetic block works by numbing the sympathetic nerves in a particular area and stopping them from sending pain signals back to the brain. Different types of sympathetic blocks target different areas and use different types of medication. These details depend on the individual needs of each patient.

What Conditions Are Sympathetic Blocks Used to Treat?

sympathetic block

Sympathetic nervous system blocks can be used to treat symptoms of the following conditions.

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy)
  • Certain forms of chronic stomach pain
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Pain from blood vessel spasms
  • Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • Leg pain
  • Foot pain
  • Arm and hand pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Facial pain

What Medications Are Used for Sympathetic Blocks?

As we mentioned before, the type of medication administered during a sympathetic block may vary depending on the individual needs of each patient. In most cases, pain medicine or a local anesthetic will be used. Specific examples of medications include the following.

  • Lidocaine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Bupivacaine
  • Betamethasone
  • Triamcinolone

Types of Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

There are several sympathetic block procedure types that aim to diagnose and treat specific conditions. Below, we briefly outline the most common types of sympathetic nerve blocks.

Lumbar sympathetic blocks are among the most common types of sympathetic nervous system blocks. They are injected into the lumbar sympathetic chain near the spinal nerve in the lower back. A lumbar sympathetic nerve block can be used to treat phantom leg limb pain, leg pain after surgery, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, trench foot, and Raynaud’s syndrome.

A stellate ganglion block involves injecting medication into the sympathetic ganglia to relieve head pain, neck pain, upper torso pain, and upper arm pain. It also helps to increase blood flow to the arms. These injections can be used to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), shingles pain, and phantom limb pain.

A celiac plexus block aims to treat pain in the abdomen from adhesions, cancer, pancreatitis, and other sources of abdominal pain. Depending on the patient, these blocks have the potential to provide long-term pain relief.

The ganglion impar is located between the lowest portion of the spine and the tailbone. A ganglion of impar block aims to treat conditions such as chronic pelvic or rectal pain.

The hypogastric plexus is located near the bottom of the spinal cord. Hypogastric plexus blocks aim to treat visceral pain from the bladder, colon, uterus, prostate, ovaries, or intestines.

How to Prepare for a Sympathetic Nerve Block

Our providers will explain how to prepare for the procedure, as well as the potential risks involved. Below, we list tips on how to prepare for a sympathetic ganglion block.

  • Arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment. It will be an outpatient procedure, but you should not drive for at least the rest of the day after the procedure is complete.
  • Inform your provider of any and all medications or supplements that you currently take. Certain medications, such as blood thinning medicines, can increase one’s risk of complications. We will inform you of any supplements or medications that you should stop taking before your procedure if any.
  • Before you show up for your appointment, make sure you have showered and refrain from using scented body products near the injection site.

What Are the Risks of a Sympathetic Block?

Although complications are rare, it is still essential for patients to be properly informed of the risks associated with their procedures. The potential risks of sympathetic blocks include the following.

  • Soreness
  • Temporary numbness
  • Allergic reaction
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Nerve injury
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fluid leaking in the spinal cord
  • Infections
  • Temporary voice changes
  • Temporary eyelid droop

What Happens During a Sympathetic Nerve Block?

sympathetic nerve blocks

In general, the sympathetic nerve block procedure should take no longer than 30 minutes. Because it is an outpatient procedure, you will return home the same day. Below, we outline the steps of a lumbar sympathetic block.

  • You will lie down on the procedure table. You will receive an IV line, and our team will watch your vital signs carefully.
  • We will numb the injection site with a local anesthetic, and you may receive medication to help you relax.
  • Your provider will inject contrast dyes into the area to identify the right nerves to be treated.
  • Then, we will inject an anesthetic solution or steroid medication into the area.
  • Once the injection is complete, we will remove the needle, apply pressure to the injection site, and apply a bandage.

What Happens After a Sympathetic Block?

When the injection is complete, our team will monitor your condition for up to an hour. The procedure is relatively safe, but we will still watch for allergic reactions and other complications. Once you are cleared to go home, someone should be there to drive you home. Most patients can resume their normal activities after a rest day. Your doctor will inform you of when you can return to work. Depending on your specific needs, you may need multiple injections over the course of a few weeks.

How Long Does It Take for a Sympathetic Block to Work?

This varies from patient to patient. Some patients report immediate pain relief when they receive their injections. Others report relief from their pain a few days after their procedure. The type of medication your injection uses can also affect how soon you will have relief from pain.

How Long Does a Sympathetic Block Last?

This also varies depending on the patient and the medication used. In general, patients who have multiple injections will have pain relief that lasts longer. Some patients only have temporary relief from their pain, while others enjoy long-term relief.

How Often Can You Receive Sympathetic Blocks?

In general, patients who receive multiple injections will wait one or two weeks between injections. Depending on the medication and the specific procedure, recurrent injections may provide temporary relief each time or long-term relief.

Contact The Pain Relief Center Today

When past injection procedures, physical therapy, and pain medication haven’t helped your pain, it may be time to consider a pain relief alternative. At The Pain Relief Center, we offer a wide variety of treatment options for an even wider variety of conditions. No matter the source of your pain, our medical team will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that targets your specific problem areas. We’ll pair you with a pain management specialist experienced in administering nerve blocks, so you can rest assured you’ll be in good hands. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, please call our office at 214-709-1904 today.

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.

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