Lumbar Sympathetic Injections

Lumbar Sympathetic Injections

A lumbar sympathetic block uses an injection of steroids and local anaesthesia in and around the sympathetic nerves, located in the lumbar region of the spine, to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in that area.

Often Used to Treat:

Sympathetic nerves are located on both sides of your spine and in your lower back. A lumbar sympathetic block is used to relieve lower back pain or pain in the legs caused by sciatica; the procedure is also used as a way to inject corticosteroids and local anaesthetic into or around your sympathetic nerves as a way of reducing pain and discomfort resulting from a number of conditions, including:

Peripheral neuropathy
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
Herpes Zoster (shingles) involving the legs
Chronic venous insufficiency

How is a Lumbar Sympathetic block Procedure Performed?

Prior to starting the procedure, your physician will use a local anaesthesia to numb an area on the lower back. Then, using a fluoroscopy to guide the procedure, your physician will insert a small needle into your back and along the spinal column. Before administering the cortisone into the spine, your doctor will inject a contrast dye to ensure the medication is being administered to the correct area; once confirmed, the steroid medication is injected into the spine. Most lumbar sympathetic block procedures take between 30 and 45 minutes and are administered in an outpatient setting.

What are the Risks Associated with Lumbar Sympathetic Block?

The lumbar sympathetic block is considered a low risk procedure; however, like any medical procedure, post-procedure bruising, tenderness, swelling, and soreness at the site of the injection are quite common.
While rare, serious complications resulting from a lumbar sympathetic block including infection and bleeding are uncommon.

How Effective is a Lumbar Sympathetic Block?

Patients often report experiencing pain relief immediately after receiving a lumbar sympathetic block injection, most often the result of the local anaesthetic. While pain and discomfort often return a few hours after receiving the injection, long-term relief typically occurs two or three days after the procedure.
Pain relief tends to be more significant and longer lasting with each subsequent lumbar sympathetic block injection. Patients often report between a 50 percent and 80 percent reduction in pain and discomfort lasting for up to a year after completing a series of lumbar sympathetic block injections.

Dr.Raju Mantena
Dr. Raju Mantena is an anesthesiologist and pain specialist based in the Houston area and has over 15 years of medical experience which he relies upon each day to successfully treat his patients’ acute and chronic pain.

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