What are Sympathetic nerve blocks?
Sympathetic nerve blocks are often performed for patients who present with pain in the limbs related to sympathetic mediated pain, an example being complex regional pain syndrome type I. These injections target the sympathetic chain. A positive injection will cause a temperature increase in the limb by 2°C, a decrease of pain, and vasodilation. The lumbar sympathetic change is comprised of the first four spinal nerves exiting the lumbar segments. Larger segments of the ganglia are located along the anterior level of the L2 and L3 vertebrae, which are sites often targeted for lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks. It is important that an effective nerve block is followed by a rigorous therapy program to optimize functional return in the affected extremity.