Lumbar Sympathetic Block

Sympathetic nerves bring pain impulses to the brain. A Lumbar Sympathetic Block is carried out to eliminate leg pains caused by complex regional pain syndrome, which can arise as a result of joint or limb damage. Generally we have to make a series of injections to solve the problem completely. During a Lumbar Sympathetic Block the patient lies on their side or stomach on a table equipped with a special fluoroscopic machine, and intravenously takes a relaxing anesthetic.

A local anesthetic is administered to numb the skin and all tissue up to the sympathetic nerve through which the needle is introduced. Then contrast is injected to help visualize the fluoroscope and to guide the needle into the painful area. The doctor then injects a mixture of anesthetic, saline and anti inflammatory drug which prevents the conduction of pain signals to the brain. Infrequently, the patient may feel weakness in legs which will disappear in several hours after the procedure. It may be necessary to repeat the procedure once a week to achieve full pain relief. The procedure is not permitted for patients who receive ‘blood thinning’ agents or have inflammations in the site of sympathetic nerve injections.


Possible side effects could be compared with common injection side effects, i.e. allergic reaction, bacterial infection, or bleeding in seldom cases. Steroid side effects are facial, eyes, arms, or legs swelling and elevated sugars for diabetic patients.

It is very important that the patient inform the physician about pregnancy or if he/she is taking blood thinning medication.