This procedure is performed to determine if there is pain coming from the sympathetic nerve chain. This is a network of nerves extending the length of the spine. These nerves control some of the body’s involuntary functions, such as opening and narrowing blood vessels. However, they may sometimes carry painful impulses as well.
Patients with nerve (neurogenic) pain, most commonly the constant burning pain of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), otherwise known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in the arm or leg, are candidates for the procedure. Also, patients with coccydynia (tailbone pain), facial pain, or pelvic area pain may be candidates.
The sympathetic nerve blocks procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes.
The patient usually is monitored for 30 to 60 minutes and then can resume activity as tolerated. The patient is instructed to rest for the day of the procedure.
Usually, there is a progressive increase in the interval between when blocks are needed due to the procedure’s pain relief.
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