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Stellate Ganglion Block

Stellate block involves injecting a local anesthetic (numbing medication) to block the sympathetic nerves located on either side of the larynx in the neck. An injection to these nerves can relieve symptoms such as pain, swelling, discoloration and sweating in the upper extremities and improve mobility. 

This injection is usually ordered by a doctor for pain in the head, neck, chest, or arm caused by sympathetic pain (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), causalgia (nerve injury), herpes zoster (shingles), or persistent angina (pain associated with decreased blood flow to the heart). Stellate ganglion blocks are also used to see if blood flow can be improved in patients with circulatory problems due to vascular disease.

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Stellate Ganglion Block

Stellate block involves injecting a local anesthetic (numbing medication) to block the sympathetic nerves located on either side of the larynx in the neck. An injection to these nerves can relieve symptoms such as pain, swelling, discoloration and sweating in the upper extremities and improve mobility. 

This injection is usually ordered by a doctor for pain in the head, neck, chest, or arm caused by sympathetic pain (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), causalgia (nerve injury), herpes zoster (shingles), or persistent angina (pain associated with decreased blood flow to the heart). Stellate ganglion blocks are also used to see if blood flow can be improved in patients with circulatory problems due to vascular disease.

Stellate ganglion blocks may be used therapeutically (to relieve pain) and/or diagnostically (to determine the cause of pain).

A stellate block is used to diagnose or treat circulatory problems or nerve injuries, including:

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Causalgia
  • Complex regional pain syndrome type I or II
  • Herpes zoster infection (or “shingles”) affecting the head, neck, arm, or upper chest
  • Phantom limb pain

At Greater Houston and Greater Victoria Interventional Pain Management we provide stellate ganglion block in order to diagnose or relieve pain.

How effective is a stellate ganglion block?

Some patients report pain relief immediately after injection, but pain may recur several hours later as the local anesthetic wears off. Other patients experience longer-term relief that outlasts the duration of the local anesthetic, helping them reduce their medication use and increase their participation in physical therapy.

How long pain relief lasts is different for each patient. Some are pain-free for days or weeks. Usually, a series of injections is needed to maintain pain relief. Sometimes two injections are enough, sometimes more than 10 are needed. Usually, relief lasts longer with each treatment.
Stellate ganglion blocks may be appropriate for you if you suffer from nerve pain in the head, neck, upper arm or upper chest area that does not respond to other treatments.

At Greater Houston and Greater Victoria Interventional Pain Management our doctors are prepared to diagnose and treat your symptoms with stellate ganglion blocks. Book an appointment at the nearest clinic and receive the best care in Greater Houston and Greater Victoria.

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