Spine & Orthopedic Pain Centers

Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block

A nerve block of any kind is used to treat chronic pain that is unresponsive to pain medications. Nerve blocks are administered by injecting anesthetic medicine around a group of nerves, called a ganglion, to inhibit pain messages that they send to the brain.

The stellate ganglion is a group of sympathetic nerves in the neck traveling to the arms and face. A stellate ganglion block may be effective in reducing chronic pain to these body parts. The stellate ganglion is formed at the meeting place for the inferior cervical (neck region) and first thoracic (chest region) ganglion come together just in front of the C7 vertebral body in the neck.

Stellate Ganglion Block is indicated in the treatment of pain syndromes such as:

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type 1 and 2
  • Pain syndromes that are maintained by the sympathetic nervous system
  • Shoulder/hand syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Phantom limb pain from amputations
  • Injury to the nerves, known as causalgia
  • Intractable angina-chest pain
  • Herpetic neuralgia as a result of herpes zoster (shingles)

Conditions involving decreased blood flow and poor circulation of the upper extremities may be treated with stellate ganglion block:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Scleroderma
  • Arterial insufficiency

Other conditions involving pain that may be treated with stellate ganglion block include:

  • Hot flashes and disturbed sleep from hot flashes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive perspiration) found in the upper extremities and face
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