Florida Lumbar Sympathetic Block
If you suffer from lower back pain or sciatica and conservative treatments have failed, you may feel you are out of options. Fortunately, there are minimally invasive treatments available that can help. A lumbar sympathetic block performed by a qualified Florida back pain doctor could provide much-needed pain relief with a relatively simple injection.
What is a Lumbar Sympathetic Block?
The lumbar sympathetic nerves are located in the lower back on either side of the spine. These are the “fight or flight” response nerves, responsible for blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow and perspiration. When a patient is injured, the sympathetic nerves may also transmit pain.
A lumbar sympathetic block injection consists of an anesthetic and a corticosteroid. In addition to treating lower back pain and sciatica, it is also used for treating:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Phantom limb pain
- Shingles infection in the legs
- Vascular insufficiency
Florida patients with any type of active infection must postpone their appointment until they have recovered. Additionally, pregnant women, or women who suspect they are pregnant, should not undergo a lumbar sympathetic block. Patients on blood thinning drugs must stop taking them a week or so prior to the procedure.
The patient lies on their stomach for a lumbar sympathetic block procedure.. The doctor uses a numbing agent on the skin then inserts the needle into the back under fluoroscopic guidance.
First, dye is injected to ensure the medication goes to the correct area. After the dye confirmation, the corticosteroid medication is injected on either the right or left side of the lower back. The entire procedure takes roughly 30 minutes.
In most cases, patients need a series of injections, spread out over a few weeks. How many injections are necessary depends on the individual, with some patients requiring only two or three and other patients needing considerably more.
Recovery and Side-Effects
Patients can go home shortly after the procedure, but they should arrange to have someone drive them since leg weakness or numbness is common. Most people can resume normal activities the following day, including returning to work if their occupation is not physically strenuous.
A lumbar sympathetic block is generally very safe, and side effects are uncommon. However, as with any procedure, there is always the risk of bleeding and infection at the site. More often, patients experience soreness or bruising for a day or so, but the use of ice packs or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen should relieve discomfort.
While some patients may feel instant relief after the injection, that is more likely the effects of the anesthetic than the corticosteroid. Do not worry if the pain returns after several hours. It may take the corticosteroid several days to provide full pain relief.
Contact a Florida Doctor to Discuss Lumbar Sympathetic Block Treatment
If you were diagnosed with lower back pain or sciatica and conservative treatments have failed, you may be a candidate for a Florida lumbar sympathetic block. Call today and or reach out online to arrange a consultation. Pain relief may be just a few injections away, and you could move freely and comfortably once again.