What Are Sympathetic Nerve Blocks?

What Are Sympathetic Nerve Blocks?

People struggling with chronic pain often struggle to find reliable treatments. Pain management doctors are now offering sympathetic nerve blocks – a relatively new procedure that can help people with chronic pain to manage their illness without the trouble of invasive treatments.

This article explores the use and function of sympathetic nerve blocks. Understanding this treatment will provide you with the knowledge that you need to determine whether or not this type of treatment is for you.

pain management doctors illinois

What Is a Sympathetic Nerve Block?

A sympathetic nerve block, also known as a sympathetic block injection, is a procedure that involves injecting certain medication into or around the root of your sympathetic nerves. These nerves rest around the spine and are involved in the transmission of pain signaling.

People with chronic pain often have nerves that are constantly firing off pain signals. The point of a sympathetic nerve block is to deactivate these pain signals so that people can live comfortably.

Specifically, a sympathetic nerve block is designed to target the ganglion. The ganglion is a bundle of nerves that are responsible for managing the body’s sympathetic nervous system.

How Does the Procedure Work?

First, pain management doctors will assess your pain. This will allow them to determine where, exactly, you will require your nerve block injection. Different ganglions relate to different parts of the body and, as such, it’s important that your doctor can determine the proper ganglion.

The whole process takes about half an hour to finish. Your doctor will likely provide you with a mild sedating drug to help you remain comfortable during the procedure. Then you’ll be asked to lie on your belly so that your doctor can reach your spine.

Your doctor will make use of x-rays to help ensure that they’re injecting the medication into the right area. Firstly, the doctor will anesthetize and sanitize the area where you’ll be receiving the needle. Then they’ll insert the needle and inject the medication.

After the procedure, it is recommended that you avoid partaking in any strenuous activity for at least a day.

Who Needs a Sympathetic Nerve Block?

There are a number of conditions that have been successfully managed with a sympathetic nerve block. Some of the most common include:

  • Vascular pain. Vascular pain occurs when the tissues and organs in our body have an inadequate supply of blood.
  • Neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain, or nerve pain, is often difficult to treat. It often manifests as sharp, shooting pains that result from nerve signaling.
  • Visceral pain. This type of pain affects the organs of the body.


While treatment in this area is still relatively new, those who have received treatment report a decrease in pain for many months after the treatment.


Sympathetic nerve blocks are a promising treatment offered such as the pain management doctors Illinois. If you think that this type of treatment could be useful for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a pain management clinic near you.