Many health care providers believe that a sympathetic nerve block is an effective way to manage chronic pain.
This therapy is designed to target your sympathetic nervous system, which is a series of nerves spreading out from the spine to the rest of your body. The nerves control a number of involuntary functions, such as sweating, blood flow, and even digestion.
Sympathetic blocks improve physical therapy by offering temporary pain relief and making it easier to engage in your physical therapy. As a result, the physical therapy treatment is more effective at decreasing pain and stimulating mobility. The blocks numb the nerve-generated pain, leading to an overall better quality of life.
There are many pain management options out there. While some patients need to take a series of injections or try alternative options for pain relief, others find immediate relief with sympathetic blocks. For many, sympathetic blocks improve physical therapy sessions, resulting in pain relief and a more manageable issue.
If you have suffered from chronic pain for a decade or more, there may be multiple pain generators. The body is made up of an array of anatomic structures, so the pain can come from more than one nerve or joint. If you suffer from spinal pain, for example, you may find that the first injection takes away just some of the pain, making physical therapy more bearable and more successful.
The sooner you get an injection when you are in pain, the better the results. Combined with physical therapy, sympathetic blocks can significantly improve your chances of recovery.
How often you will need injections depends on your medical history. Patients typically repeat the procedure every three to six months. If you suffer from diabetes, you may have injections less frequently.
The goal of sympathetic block injections is to minimize pain and increase your function. As a result, this allows for more aggressive physical therapy to improve range of motion and diminish suffering.
How much pain relief you experience after nerve block injections depends on whether or not your pain is caused by sympathetic nerves. Many healthcare providers suggest keeping a pain diary after your injections and physical therapy sessions to gauge effectiveness.
You can continue to take medication after your injection, but it’s better to limit the use of these medications on the day of your procedure. This makes it easier to figure out if the nerve block is effective.
While you may experience a little pain around the injection site, you can treat this with ice and resume physical therapy sessions within a few days.
On the day of your treatment, aim to avoid strenuous activities, as well as driving. You will be able to return to your regular activities the next day. As your pain improves, so you can resume regular exercise, gradually increasing the frequency as your physical therapy sessions help with pain management and range of movement.
There are many different conditions that can benefit from sympathetic nerve block injections. Some of the most common conditions include facial pain, headaches, excessive sweating, complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathy in the extremities, and neck pain. For most of these conditions, a combination of physical therapy and sympathetic blocks can help manage and even eliminate the condition.
If you’d like to learn more about these treatments, get in touch with the pain management team at Integrated Pain Consultants. Book a consultation online today or call (480) 626 2252.