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A lumbar sympathetic block involves the injection of medication into the nerves in your lumbar area. These nerves are located on either side of your spine in your lower back and sometimes carry pain information from tissues to the spinal cord. With the lumbar sympathetic block, the system is prevented from carrying pain signals. The injection and affected leg are related; for example, if you receive an injection on the right side of your body, your right leg’s nerves will be blocked.

The procedure takes about 10 to 30 minutes. It uses a local anesthetic and sometimes a steroid medication. The needle is guided into your body using x-ray imaging, where a test dye confirms that the medication is spreading correctly. Once the actual injection is performed, you will feel pain relief right away.

What conditions does it treat?

A lumbar sympathetic block is used for leg pain felt as a result of neuropathy, cancer, phantom limb pain, and complex regional pain syndrome.

What can I expect afterward?

If the block is successful, it will likely be repeated in about seven to 10 days repeatedly until the pain diminishes. After each injection, the pain relief that you feel should last longer than before.