Pain Treatments

Sympathetic Blocks

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Sympathetic blocks are a type of medical procedure in which an anesthetic medication is injected near a sympathetic nerve or ganglion (a group of nerve cells) in order to block the transmission of nerve impulses and reduce pain. Sympathetic nerves are part of the sympathetic nervous system, a network of nerves that helps regulate certain body functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and the dilation and constriction of blood vessels.

Sympathetic blocks are typically used to treat chronic pain conditions that involve the sympathetic nervous system, such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and sympathetic-maintained pain. They may also treat other types of chronic pain, such as nerve and neuropathic pain.

The procedure is usually performed by an anesthesiologist or pain management specialist and is performed in a hospital or clinic setting. A small amount of local anesthetic is used to numb the skin over the injection site, and a needle is then inserted near the targeted sympathetic nerve or ganglion. The anesthetic medication is then injected, blocking the transmission of nerve impulses and reducing pain.

Sympathetic blocks are generally safe, with a low risk of complications. However, as with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks, including infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. Your doctor will discuss the potential risks and benefits of a sympathetic block with you and help you decide if it is the right treatment option for you.

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