Using a lumbar sympathetic nerve can help patients experience pain relief without the need for surgery. By blocking off the nerve with an injection, the nerve will no longer be able to send pain signals to the brain, which results in relief without the need for medication or additional treatments. While this treatment can be more effective for some than others, those who do feel relief get it almost instantly.
The injection used for a lumbar sympathetic nerve may contain one or two medications. The first medication used is an anesthetic, and it works to numb the nerve and surrounding region. However, in some cases, additional medication may also be used in the injection, which works to prolong the effects of the anesthetic and result in pain reduction for a longer period of time. Some other medications used in conjunction with the anesthetic include epinephrine, steroids, or clonidine. Different health factors, level of damage, and the amount of pain present are used in conjunction to determine if the anesthetic alone will be effective, or if an additional medication should be used to provide adequate results.
With the lumbar sympathetic nerve block, the injection process is quick and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Due to the quick acting effects of the anesthetic, patients who are looking for immediate pain relief find that this treatment is their best option. Prior to using the lumbar sympathetic nerve block, imaging treatments may be used to find the exact location of the damaged nerve, which will enable to physician to make the injection within the area needed for pain relief the first time around. This will eliminate the need for further treatments due to inaccurate placement.
In order to determine if the lumbar sympathetic nerve block injection is effective, the first injection is generally provided, and the patient is asked to examine the effects and determine pain relief. In most cases, four to six injections will be needed for complete relief, but some patients will require up to 10 shots during one treatment episode. By ensuring the shot is effective prior to moving forward with further injections, the patient is able to determine if this treatment reduce or eliminate pain, or if there is a need to explore alternative treatment options.