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Pain Management

Nerve Blocks and Pain

11/05/2007

Question:

Does a stellated ganglion nerve block only treat the pain of RSD temporarily, or does it actually stop the progression of RSD, or the spread of RSD to other parts of the body?

Answer:

The goal is to decrease the pain enough to allow occupational therapy. Therapy appears to be the main treatment for RSD. The injections and interventions are done to decrease pain enough to allow therapy to progress. It is not known whether sympathetic blocks (including stellate) stop the progression or spread of the RSD. However, the data on the efficacy of these blocks is limited and occasionally challenged. Nonetheless, if the stellate ganglion block is helping, there are medications (Hytrin e.g.) that block the same receptors and may be helpful for pain relief obviating the need for further injections.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University