Our team at Republic is in the business of relieving pain. We want to understand your pain, find the source, both physically and why it’s occurring, and work with you to find a plan to relieve that pain. No pain treatment will work the same for every person, if it did, our jobs would be easier. One of the treatments we use are blocks which even vary in how they are done and what pain relief they can provide. The Stellate Ganglion block is one of those at our disposal.
What is it?
The Stellate ganglion is a collection of nerves that sits in front of the vertebrae at the base of your neck. According to Cedars-Sinai, “they are part of the sympathetic nervous system and supply the face and arm.” The block can be done to actually relieve and treat pain or it can be used diagnostically to discover the cause of pain.
What does it treat?
The block itself is used as a diagnostic tool when pain is identified in the face, head, chest, or arms. It can also be used to treat pain in these locations, or for pain caused by shingles or angina. There has also been some success in reducing sweating in these areas if a patient feels this is needed. A few additional general pain syndromes can be treated or managed with this block.
How is it administered?
The location of the nerve cluster in the neck causes some tricky work for our team. With the help of imaging guidance, we are able to get close to this nerve cluster and will inject anesthetic to provide relief. While you are laying down, we will clean your neck to make sure no infection is introduced inside your body. Along with the imaging guidance, we will feel several parts of your neck to assist in getting the needle placement exact.
What are the effects?
Relief may not be immediate and we encourage our patients before and after any pain treatment to keep some sort of pain diary to better evaluate how to help and how relief is being experienced. The patient may experience a little hoarseness or feel warmth in their face, depending on how they react to the anesthetic being administered. This usually goes away soon after the block is given. Redness in your eyes and dropping eyelids are also expected side effects, but temporary.
Although the anesthetic wears off, much like other local administrations, after a few hours, the effects of pain relief and a reduction of swelling can last for much longer. Some patients have experienced more pain relief with additional blocks given over a period of time.
To meet with our team and to evaluate your pain, contact us today. While this treatment may not be ideal for the type of pain you are experiencing, we provide different methods, some methods working together to bring about the best possible diagnosis. We are here to help you.