Sympathetic Blocks

The sympathetic nerves/ganglions are responsible for pain with burning, shooting and tingling properties. These are specialized nerves that can become “fired-up” even with the smallest injuries or no injuries at all. Most common syndromes related to the sympathetic nerves include RSD(reflex sympathetic dystrophy), facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia, pancreatic cancer pain, etc. Your pain specialist can perform an injection with local anesthetics with or without steroids to disrupt the pain signals from these sympathetic nerves/ganglions.

WHAT PATIENTS ARE CANDIDATES FOR SYMPATHETIC BLOCKS?
Patients with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), headache, facial pain, arm pain, abdominal pain, leg pain, sacral pain, Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), Reynaud’s Syndrome and neuropathy can benefit from these blocks.

HOW IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED?
You will be given conscious sedation through an IV (intravenous needle) inserted in your arm/hand on your admission to the facility where the procedure will be performed. You will be escorted to the surgical suite with the nurse and asked to lay on your stomach for the procedure. The MD and /or nurse will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate (breathing) during the procedure. The physician will perform the procedure with a special x ray machine called the fluoroscope to accurately visualize the anatomy. Then contrast dye will be injected to enhance visualization. Finally, local anesthetics with or without steroids will be injected to disrupt the sympathetic pain fibers and relieve pain. Another benefit from sympathetic blocks is to increase blood flow to the areas which can help patients who suffer from PVD, Reynaud’s Syndrome and other blood flow problems.

WILL THE PROCEDURE BE PAINFUL?
Typically the sedation provided minimizes pain.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS FROM SYMPATHETIC BLOCKS?
The most common risks are local pain from the needles. More serious but extremely rare risks are bleeding, infection, nerve injury, paralysis, weakness in the lower  extremities and death.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE PROCEDURE TO WORK?
The beneficial effects are usually appreciated immediately following the procedure.

Our Services

We offer pain relief injections and minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Call 210-690-0777 to make your appointment.

Discography

Discography involves the injection of contrast dye into the center of a disc under direct x-ray control. It is strictly a diagnostic procedure which helps the physician try to locate the source of your pain. Your skin will be injected with a numbing medication such as Lidocaine or Marcaine during the procedure. This may feel like a burning sensation in your back. The physician will tell you when they plan to start the injection(s). You will be asked to report how the injections feel. The most important thing is to report to the physician if the injection reproduces your usual pain.

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Intra-articular Joint Steroid Injections

An intra-articular joint steroid injection is a therapeutic procedure designed to decrease or eliminate pain symptoms and decrease inflammation within in a joint.

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Epidural Steroid Injection

The epidural space is located outside the lining of the spinal cord. Medications such as corticosteroids and/or local anesthetics are injected in the epidural space by the way of a needle or catheter.

Botulinum Toxin Injections

The usage of Botox® (botulinum toxin) is not limited to cosmetic therapies. There are numerous research studies showing the effectiveness of botulinum toxin in managing painful conditions. Low back pain, headaches and neck pain are just a few of the painful conditions that can benefit from botulinum toxin injections.

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Facet Joint Injections

Facet syndrome cannot be diagnosed by x-ray, CT scan, MRI, Bone scan, or any other radiology process. It is suspected on physical exam by tenderness directly over the facet joint, experiencing pain on extension (bending backwards), and on your history. The diagnosis is made by injecting a local anesthetic and steroid to the painful area or the nerve that goes to this area. If your pain is relieved by this injection you may benefit from another procedure called Radiofrequency Rhizotomy/Neurolysis.

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Epidural Lysis of Adhesions

Also called Racz procedure, this procedure is performed to remove excessive scarring in the epidural space. The epidural space is a thin area between the inside of the spine and the protective layer around the spinal cord. Scar tissue may restrict the natural movement of nerves causing inflammation and pain.

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Radiofrequency Neurotomy

Radiofrequency (RF) rhizotomy/neurotomy, is a therapeutic procedure designed to deaden the nerve to the painful arthritic joint. Relief of pain can last up to one year.

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Selective Nerve Block Injections

A nerve root block is an injection of local anesthetic and sometimes a steroid under the directed vision of an x-ray machine (C-Arm) into the areas where the nerve root exits the spinal column. A nerve root block (injection) follows the path of a single nerve to block pain emitted into an arm, leg or back.
A nerve root block may be used by your Doctor to diagnose (try to determine at which level in your spine the pain is coming from) and provide therapeutic relief at this level with medication.

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Sympathetic Blocks

The sympathetic nerves/ganglions are responsible for pain with burning, shooting and tingling properties. These are specialized nerves that can become “fired-up” even with the smallest injuries or no injuries at all. Most common syndromes related to the sympathetic nerves include RSD(reflex sympathetic dystrophy), facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia, pancreatic cancer pain, etc. Your pain specialist can perform an injection with local anesthetics with or without steroids to disrupt the pain signals from these sympathetic nerves/ganglions.

Read More

Advanced Spine and Pain Center Locations

The Texas Center for Athletes
21 Spurs Lane, Suite 240     |     San Antonio, TX 78240

Westover Hills
10010 Rogers Crossing, Suite 230     |     San Antonio, Texas 78251

Stone Oak
255 E. Sonterra Blvd, Suite 216     |     San Antonio, Texas 78258

phone 210.690.0777        fax 210.690.0779