If you have ongoing neck pain or pain in your head, arms, hands, or upper chest, it's time to talk with medical professionals about a stellate ganglion block.
Even when medications don’t help, a nerve block can quickly ease your pain. When we combine an anesthetic with steroid medications, most patients finally achieve a level of pain relief they can't get from other conventional treatments.
Here's what you need to know about stellate ganglion blocks and the pain conditions they can treat.
About The Stellate Ganglion
A ganglion refers to a cluster of spinal nerves. These clusters occur along your spine at every vertebra, where multiple nerves leave and return to the spinal cord.
The stellate ganglion is a collection of sympathetic nerves located at the sixth and seventh vertebrae, the last two vertebrae at the bottom of your neck.
These nerves supply your face and extend to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves in your shoulder that carries movement and sensory signals to your arms and hands.
Most importantly, we can precisely target the stellate ganglion to eliminate pain in your face, head, arms, and chest.
Stellate Ganglion Block Explained
A stellate ganglion block refers to injecting an anesthetic into the ganglion. The anesthetic stops nerve signals, including pain messages. We may also inject steroids to reduce nerve inflammation.
The anesthetic results in immediate pain relief. Steroids take longer to work, but as the inflammation improves, they often provide long-lasting results. As a result, you stop feeling the pain that originates in different body areas.
During your procedure, you take medicine to help you relax, and we numb the injection site with a topical anesthetic. We use an X-ray device called a fluoroscope, which produces a real-time video showing your vertebrae and the needle as we guide it into position.
While you lie on your back, we carefully insert the needle into the targeted stellate ganglion and inject a dye. Viewing the dye on the fluoroscope shows that the needle is in the correct location, then we inject the medications.
Pain Conditions Treated With A Stellate Ganglion Block
A stellate ganglion block can ease pain in your neck, head, upper chest, arms, and hands. When treating neck pain, the problem typically begins with damaged or pinched spinal nerves.
However, a stellate ganglion block also stops nerve signals from traveling from a wide area of your upper body. As a result, this treatment may effectively relieve pain caused by conditions such as:
- Complex regional pain syndrome (affecting your upper limbs)
- Herpes zoster infection (shingles)
- Phantom limb pain
- Post-herpetic neuralgia
- Cluster headaches
- Migraine headaches
- Upper extremity vascular disease
- Chronic post-surgical pain
- Angina (chest pain) that doesn't respond to other treatments
You don't need to live with ongoing pain. Even when other medications or therapies haven't helped, medical professional offers specialized procedures, like a stellate ganglion block, that ease your pain by targeting the nerves carrying pain signals.
Precision Pain Care and Rehabilitation has two convenient locations in Richmond Hill – Queens and New Hyde Park – Long Island. Call the Queens office at (718) 215-1888, or (516) 419-4480 for the Long Island office, to arrange an appointment with our Interventional Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Chacko.