Lumbar Sympathetic Block

A lumbar sympathetic block is an injection designed to find and treat pain that is affecting your lower back, or lumbar area.

The nerves in this part of your body are complex and orthopaedic pain management specialists are often required to utilize a systematic and thorough approach to diagnostic care to pinpoint the specific nerves that are responsible for your chronic or acute low back pain.

Lumbar sympathetic block injections are one of the diagnostic tools your Non-Surgical Orthopaedic doctor may use to accurately identify the source of your pain.

Branches of nerves that line the sides of your spine are known as sympathetic nerves. Not only are these nerves important for the range of motion of your back, but they are also associated with other bodily functions, including circulation, digestion and sweat production.

The sympathetic nerves will send pain signals when there is any disruption of function or damage. This often occurs after a significant injury like those experienced in car accidents or serious falls.

By administering numbing medications around these nerves with a lumbar sympathetic block injection, the source of pain can be accurately diagnosed, and the patient can experience at least temporary pain relief.

Your perceptions of pain reduction are crucial during any sympathetic block injection. Your orthopaedic specialist is trying to precisely identify the source of your pain by administering the numbing medication to specific lumbar nerves. They’ll know they’ve found the proper nerves when your chronic pain is at least temporarily alleviated.

Once the problem area is accurately identified, the patient can then be prescribed additional pain management injections and other treatments that will provide longer lasting pain relief.


The Lumbar Sympathetic Block Injection Procedure

The doctor begins the procedure by first administering a local anesthetic to numb the tissue surrounding the injection site and relax the patient to avoid any tension and movement. Then the doctor uses fluoroscopy to guide the needle to the sympathetic nerve. They may saturate the area near the nerve with a contrast dye to ensure the needle is properly positioned.

The lumbar sympathetic block injection is then administered near the nerves. This medicinal anesthetic mixture bathes the nerves and ideally numbs the patient’s chronic pain. If the orthopaedist has found the right spot, the injection will provide immediate relief for the patient. It’s not uncommon for a patient to need multiple lumbar sympathetic block injections before all the sources of pain have been completely identified.

Following the procedure, your Non-Surgical Orthopaedic doctor will monitor you for a short period to ensure there aren’t any adverse reactions to the injection. You will then be sent home to relax.

Patients often experience numbness or weakness of the legs, which should subside within a few hours. It is recommended that patients take the rest of the day off of work after their lumbar sympathetic block injection. They should be capable of returning to normal activities the following day.

Depending on the severity and source of the pain, more than one injection may be necessary for patients, in which case they will need to return for more lumbar sympathetic block injections. Based on the outcome of your lumbar sympathetic block injections your certified orthopaedic specialist may offer additional treatment recommendations.

To learn more about nerve pain relief of the lumbar spine, talk to one of our certified orthopaedists by calling 770-421-1420 today.