Lumbar Sympathetic Block

The doctor has recommended that you receive a Lumbar Sympathetic Block for the treatment of your pain. The doctor injects local anesthetic medicine around the lumbar sympathetic nerves which are located in the lower back.

The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for perception of some types of pain sensation. It also plays a major role in the regulation of blood flow, degree of sweating, and temperature sensation. By temporarily blocking the lumbar sympathetic nerves, your doctor can determine if it is these nerves that are responsible for your leg or foot pain. This gives the doctor valuable information about the nature of your pain and therefore aids your treatment plan. Pain relief obtained from the block may be variable; from hours or days to weeks. Some patients require lumbar sympathetic blocks on a periodic basis as part of the treatment of their pain.


Upon arrival at the surgery center as nurse will escort you to a room where you will change into a gown before entering the procedure room. This is a special room, kept to the highest standards of cleanliness. To reduce the risk of “outside germs” we request that only the surgery center staff accompany you there. An intravenous line (IV) will be started prior to the procedure, and you will be placed on a monitor that will check your blood pressure, heart rate, and the temperature of your feet. The IV provides an easy route by which you will receive medication to help you relax and make the procedure as comfortable as possible. You will not be “put to sleep”, and you will be able to respond and move if the doctor or nurse asks you to. A special type of X-ray machine (fluoroscope) aids the doctor in visualizing the area for injection. The actual injection only takes a few minutes. It is rare for any of our patients to experience significant pain during the procedure, and every effort is made to ensure your comfort.


You will need to stay approximately 30 minutes in the pain center following the procedure. The medication you receive will wear off very quickly. The total time from your arrival at the center to you leaving is approximately 90 minutes. The nurse will inform you of what to expect and how to take care of yourself after you return home. You will also receive these instructions in writing. For safety reasons we request that you do not drive yourself home.

Post Procedure Symptoms

Pain Relief - This may be variable; from hours to days or weeks. You may need to use your pain medicine.

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Possible Symptoms

  • Local tenderness at the injection site - This is normal and will pass within a few days. You may use cool packs to the area to relieve discomfort, and/or your pain medicine. If you use a cool pack be sure that numbness from the local anesthetic used at the injection site has resolved. If there is redness, swelling, or bleeding at the injection site and/or fever, please report this to the doctor’s office.
  • You may experience some temporary numbness and/or weakness in the affected leg. This may last up to 24 hours. The doctor will not discharge you from the center until you can walk safely. Your safety is paramount. If numbness or weakness occurs after you have left the surgery center, please call the doctor’s office.
  • Changes to the degree of swelling in the affected leg may temporarily decrease or increase. You may also notice changes in the skin color and temperature of your leg or foot. Remember, your sympathetic nervous system regulates blood flow and temperature perception.
Silicon Valley Pain Center

360 Dardanelli Ln, Ste 2G

Los Gatos, CA 95032

(408) 356-0503

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