What is it?

A sympathetic nerve block is a process in which the medical professional will administer a numbing agent on all area surrounding your sympathetic nerves. Sympathetic nerves are located in the neck and in the lower-back region. Thanks to this highly effective and medically recommended procedure, the sympathetic nervous system in your lower back or neck will temporarily switch off, which is what causes the pain to immediately subside and offer you a sigh of relief.

This is done to eliminate pain and reduce discomfort. When the pain levels significantly reduce after the block, a diagnosis of sympathetic pain is made.

The beneficial effects of the anesthetic generally occur longer than normally expected. In case the first pain block is treated successfully, the doctor will administer an additional block – which is in case the pain returns soon after the treatment.

A skilled and qualified physician can easily locate the position of the target nerves with the help of an x-ray. Fluoroscopic guidance also ensures the treatment accuracy is up to the mark.

After locating the exact area of nerve pain with precision, the doctor injects an anesthetic solution. Typically, the process takes no more than 30 minutes and patients can leave right after the procedure is over with.

Am I a candidate?

People who been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or suffer from nerve pain, the doctor may suggest them to consider a sympathetic nerve block as a treatment option.

How long does the Procedure take?

The actual injection only requires a few minutes. However, patients must discuss all crucial details such as how the procedure will take place and signing a consent form before the treatment begins.

The complete procedure takes not more than thirty minutes. It is recommended that you do not drive on the day you’re getting the shot. Moreover, avoid doing any strenuous activities. You can resume your every day regular tasks the day after the procedure.

This is a highly successful pain relieving method that greatly reduces pain. You can soon start performing regular exercises and activities in moderation. Gradually increase your activities as any strenuous activity within the first couple of weeks of the injection should be avoided. Discuss this with your doctor.


Doctors frequently recommend patients to take things slow for a day or so after the treatment. Every person recovers differently. However, only go for activities that your body can tolerate.

Some patients observe a slight increase in their pain level, which can last several days once the numbing medicine wears off. They may also experience some pain where the injection was administered. It is beneficial to keep the region numb, so use ice packs.

Regular medicines can be taken after the procedure. However, patients should restrict their pain medication for the initial 4-6 hours so that the physician can make an accurate diagnosis after your recover.

Final Thoughts

People who are on a blood-thinning medicine or with an active injection must avoid the treatment. Your doctor will also recommend you to stop taking certain drugs 5-10 days before the procedure; such as Plavix.

Synthetic nerve block has fewer risks and is a popular method with little side effects. There is rarely a puncture of the ‘sack’ that contains spinal fluid, nerve damage, infection or bleeding after the treatment.