Sympathetic Nerve Block

This block is performed to determine if there is damage to the sympathetic nerve chain and if it is the source of pain. This is a diagnostic test, but may provide long term relief.


After the procedure, you may experience pain relief for a short time.  Your pain may come back as the anesthetic wears off.  If a steroid is administered it may take 3-4 days to begin working and up to two weeks for the full therapeutic effect. The duration of pain relief from the steroid is variable with each person and is not predictable.  


You must have a driver the day of the injection because you may experience temporary leg weakness.  You are not to take pain medication at least four hours prior to the injection so that a true determination can be made about the effectiveness of the injection.


Please inform us if you are taking any type of blood thinner, anti-inflammatory medications or have any bleeding tendencies.


Description of the Procedure


An IV is started before the procedure.  The skin overlying the area is prepared with a cleansing solution.  X-ray guidance is used to guide the needle in place.  The skin and subcutaneous tissue is numbed with a local anesthetic. A numbing medication and possibly a steroid will then be injection.




The procedure may help determine if the sympathetic nerve chain is the source of your pain.  There may be a reduction in your pain.  


Potential Risks


Infection, bleeding, bruising, allergic reaction, increased pain, paralysis, stroke or death, increase in blood sugar, internal vessel/organ puncture.


Notify our office for:

  • Fever
  • chills
  • temperature over 100 degrees
  • vomiting
  • persistent stiff neck
  • severe headache
  • progressive weakness
  • numbness
  • hives or trouble breathing
  • rash
  • itchiness
  • red or flushed face
  • loss of bowel or bladder control
  • any redness, swelling or drainage at the site of the injection.

Our office phone number is (317) 471-1400 or 1-855-664-3636.