A lumbar sympathetic block targets pain in the legs that is caused by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and usually consists of a series of injections over several weeks to achieve better pain relief results.
Complex regional pain syndrome causes pain that is disproportionate to the stimuli, like pain that occurs when bedsheets brush the skin. CRPS often occurs after a surgery or injury, but in some cases, the cause of pain is not known.
For the procedure, the patient will lie on their side or stomach, and will be given a local anesthetic to relieve pain during the procedure. The pain doctor will then use a fluoroscope to determine the correct place for administration of the injection. Once that has been confirmed, a mixture of pain relieving anesthetic, saline, and anti-inflammatory steroid is injected near the nerves to interrupt pain signals before they reach the brain, effectively relieving pain.
The injection site will be bandaged, and after a short recovery period, patients will be allowed to return home. The legs may feel weak or numb following the procedure, but those sensations will subside. Injections may be repeated once a week for several weeks to best manage pain symptoms.