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Stellate Ganglion Block for RSD any others ?

frenchfriffrenchfri Posts: 325
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:01 AM in Spinal Injections
I went for the Stellate Ganglion Block which is supposes to stop the sympathetic nervous system (SNS)to stop misfiring (I think). It was used as a diagnostic tool to see if in fact I have RSD. It was done with light sedation. No pain! After the injection, 30 minutes later the color and temp changes were amazing.The reddish was pretty much gone and my fingers and left hand resumed to a natural color and the temperature went from ice cold to average. Amazing! So they feel that I do have RSD. They recommend a series of blocks as there is a cumulative effect. I go back to the pain management dr on Tuesday. I was a bit groggy when I was talking to him so I want more clarification. From what I recall only 1x a month he preforms injections on a Saturday otherwise it is on a Friday. Any one else every have a SGB for RSD or any other nerve pain? Of so, what were your results? How long did it take to see some long term results?


  • Hi there,
    I went in for my first of 3 planned injections today. So, I am sorry, but I do not have any experience to share about how it will work, but I am so very hopeful!
    Last year I had 2 spinal surgeries, one cervical and the other a lumbar both fusions. At this point the surgeon does want to do the SIjoint fusion, but I understand from the PM doc that another surgery will only cause me a dramatic increase in this already incredibly painful arm, so I am hoping to postpone.
    I was given sedation and gratefully don't remember a thing. I had a very hoarse throat and some difficulty swallowing. The side of my face is still a bit numb, but the neck is now quite sore.
    I have had less pain in the arm and the temperature of it has gotten a bit warmer. I am hopeful!

    My doctor is planning on doing another in 2 weeks and then another to follow initially. Depending upon the results we will develop a longer plan.

    I hope you have great results. Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes for you. I will do the same.

    take care
  • I am going for my 2nd SGB on Friday. They performed the block from the back rather than the front which is what I had expected. I did not have any negative side affects and the entire procedure was quite short. I was given conscience sedation and don't remember anything either. Mine was in the cervical on the left side. My left hand returned to a natural color and temperature about 30 minutes after the block. Wish the results had lasted longer, but still promising. My cervical surgery was 12/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7.
    Let me know how you are doing.
  • I hear they give these to post menopausal women with severe sweating in menopause. Anyways just something I read about. I hope it helps you both. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had neck fusion surgery & I have permenantly damaged sensory nerves in my left arm due to malpractice in the operating room. I have had 32 blocks since. 3xs a week. They are only a temporary relief of pain. No one seems to know the long term effects. I do know that since I've had them I have trouble swallowing and I choke alot. Bread, pizza, etc. Hard to swallow. If I had to do it over I would not have ever done them. I have severe pain in my left hand and fingers so I was looking for any relief. I will always be in pain but the muscles on the left side deteriorate after so many sessions of parallysis which is caused by the blocks.
  • I had my SGB done from from the back not the front. I did not have any issues after the block. At this point I have had 3 of them spaced out 2 weeks apart. I was hoping to have 3 one week apart, but the office is closed next Friday. So I can't get them closer together to see if the results last longer. How have you been doing?
  • I also have the same nerve blocks weekly. I am not sure why you are left with paralysis. I am able to use my hand as before. The one I had yesterday was the first to cause me to choke. Does your Dr use xray when he does the procedure? If not maybe you should get a new Dr. I had a Dr who didnt use xray either and now that I have a better Dr I realize how dangerous it was to be going to the other one!! The Block should stop the pain not the use of your arm and/or hand. If you are choking every time, he is doing it wrong every time. He is spilling meds on your vocal chords the nerve that surrounds them, not a good thing, he must be hitting another wrong nerve to be causing you paralysis. I urge you to seek another Dr. I have been dealing with RSD for a several years and have been having these blocks for over a year. You need to realize how good you can feel from the relief of pain that comes with them! I wish you weren't going through this! Please let me know if you can change Dr and get better relief. Go to some web searches and see that what you experience is rare not normal for this type of block. I hope You find someone in your area who will help you! I KNOW this pain is really bad.
  • Was just reading your posts. Wondering about your blocks and if they are working better. I have blocks every week now. They will later space them out to once a month when they are lasting longer. Mine are done from the front with x-ray guide. I am not sedated at all and there is still very little pain. I have great success! Since Dr uses xray he never misses. I have had a time where he got the nerves around the vocal cords. It lasted a couple of hours before I could drink without choking but that was worth it to be able to have a warm hand and arm no pain! Hope it went well.
  • Hi, In reference to the SGNB... Does your Dr perform from the front or the back. Mine did front he back with fluoroscope for guidance. He said that it was safer. I have had the blocks every other week due to both of our schedules. How long do they help your symptoms? Thanks
  • Hi, In reference to the SGNB... Does your Dr perform from the front or the back. Mine did front he back with fluoroscope for guidance. He said that it was safer. I have had the blocks every other week due to both of our schedules. How long do they help your symptoms? Thanks
  • Hi, In reference to the SGNB... Does your Dr perform from the front or the back. Mine did front he back with fluoroscope for guidance. He said that it was safer. I have had the blocks every other week due to both of our schedules. How long do they help your symptoms? Thanks
  • My Dr does mine from the front with floroguidance. They last about a week so far. It is amazing because my hand gets warm immediately! I have bone pain now and it doesn't help that much but the nerve pain it helps a LOT!! It is amazing in fact. My hand has been cold and in pain for almost 3 years. I can hold my grandsons hand now. That makes me happy!!
  • susabellssusabell Illinois Posts: 241
    I layed on my back and the PM Dr. used an ultra sound and fluroscopy x-ray. I was awake during the procedure. He took his time, and used the Ultrasound for along time along my throat and neck. He found the nerve he needed to put the Medicine into he said the nerve was in the exact spot it should be hiding behind many blood vessels. The only pain I felt was from the injection of the medicine, he explained everything that was going on, again this was done thru the front of my neck on my right side, I had this procedure done because on 11/27/12 I had a RFA and after that procedure I had Burning Nerve pain and pins and needles in my right arm and right hand. After the SGB my throat was very soar, and I had 8 hrs of horner syndrome. When I woke up this morning my right eye was better, and I am just experiencing neck pain and a soar throat. My right hand and arm does Not feel like it is on Fire, but I still feel the pins and needles. Dr. said to call him on Monday, and that if this gives me relief I will have 2 more blocks, as if they help he does a series of 3. Time will tell what the outcome will be, I hope everyone else on this post is doing better!

    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • I was JUST diagnosed with RSD in my right foot after multiple spinal injuries. I was reading about this nerve block. Are you guys still getting them or have you been cured? PLEASE tell me!
  • is a complex neuro disorder, effecting the sympathetic nervous system.. I had it after a shoulder reconstruction, gone wrong and it spread to my arm, elbow, fingers, and hand as well as the entire shoulder.
    Temperature changes, hypersensitivity to what are normally non noxious stimuli, clothing , a sheet, touch, the breeze, etc....someone walking across the floor was enough to send me over the edge pain wise....a sheet and clothing were horrific if they came into contact with my shoulder/arm/hand..I begged for the doctors to amputate my shoulder/arm/hand- I lost the hair on my arm, lost the muscles due to atrophy, had contractures, and more...
    I hope Aaron for your sake that it is not CRPS /RSD......that is one thing no one wants to deal with if they don't have to.....the thing to treating it though is that you have to keep using the limb to try to get /maintain the use of it. It can spread, and it is not confined to one area of the body, it can in some cases spread.
  • Sandi I really don't think I do, I've heard so many things which most have proven not to be. It does look like My ulnar nerve in r arm is functioning at 50 percent of left so somehow I may have damaged it and I've read some correlation to crps w ulnar nerve damage . I hope I don't have it either but nothing correlating to level of pain so far. You still deal with it or was it caught early enough to get under control?
    Herniated T6-7, multiple herniations in cervical, tears in T5-T8. Stenois at levels and smorls nodes from thoracic thru lumbar
  • I will always have some degree of it, since it doesn't completely ever go away, but after loosing all of the muscles to atrophy, and the complete use of everything from my shoulder down, I finally managed to get it under some control...........it was the most horrific thing that I have ever dealt with, and to be honest, I wanted to die, far more often than not. I begged them to cut it off, and I meant it.......that is intractable pain, and there is little that can be done, other than to increase pain medications, and I was on some ridiculous amounts, and all it did was keep me from self destructing...then one day, I decided that I didn't want to live that way anymore. 7 years, and even going out in the sun hurt.....it was like an electrical fire from within- and the weird thing is that my arm would be ice cold, like I had taken it off and stuck it in some deep freeze, only to go out in the sun, and it would burn like fire at the same time.
    I am not sure why it suddenly seemed to not be so intense, but I am careful to this day with that limb and protective over it.I do know that as I was able to force myself to continue to try to open at first my fingers, one at a time, one segment at a time, that the pain subsided some, the more I was able to continue to do ....eventually, after another three years or so, I gained back much of the muscle tone that I lost....but it was an extremely painful journey...
  • Sounds pretty terrible. I am glad you at least seem to have upper hand. My right arm and hand has been freezing cold and tough to get moving sometimes, its not just my sensation it actually feels remarkably colder to touch that left according to other people. With water when I run cold water its freezing cold on my arm/hand and hot water is unbearably hot. But my thyroid might be to blame for that. I dont have the claw and do not have the intense buring most of the time, but it seems to be progressing, i do have what amounts to a dead arm at times. I try to not get to worked up these days as Ive been diagnosed with everything in the medical handbook it seems at one time or another. Confusing myriad of symptoms, just checking things off the list. I get overwhelmed when I have to repeat things on the list cause it just delays my finding out issue. Its a process , i get that, but i need a face/diagnosis to fight, even if its a bad one.
    Herniated T6-7, multiple herniations in cervical, tears in T5-T8. Stenois at levels and smorls nodes from thoracic thru lumbar
  • Has anyone looked into ulnar neuropathy? Ulnar impingement? I got it in both arms, from the use of the walkers, wheelchairs and cane, and the constant leaning forward on my elbows to take some of the pressure off my back when standing. I would find myself leaning forward on my forearms far too often and my arms would go numb, along with the half of my middle finger, my ring fingers and pinky fingers on both hands. I know that they thought at first, it was carpal tunnel, but it was bilateral for me, ( from the walker and leaning forward on both arms. Muscle wasting in hands, fumbling fingers, etc.
    If you haven't had an emg on the arms, it might be something to consider. Just know that an emg really doesn't show much if the symptoms have not existed for at least three months, it can come back a false negative.
  • I actually just had emg/conduction done to rule out CTS and my right arm has a nerve functioning at 50 percent of left arm. Dr was going to look more at the test but I have not heard back. I've looked at distribution of ulnar nerve and it correlates very close to where I have problems, etc. I even had arm break out in these red dots that where almost exactly following the distribution of the pain. I took pic, no doctor can explain or is sure it's related so just another weird coincidence for now
    Herniated T6-7, multiple herniations in cervical, tears in T5-T8. Stenois at levels and smorls nodes from thoracic thru lumbar
  • that I heard about that kind of reminded me about you and what you have going on- did any of your doctors ever look into Guilliane-Barre? I think that I spelled that correctly, but if I recall it correctly, some of what I remember reading might be something to look into.
  • Danigirl2269DDanigirl2269 Posts: 1
    edited 08/05/2015 - 8:20 AM
    I have CRPS and have usually had sympathetic blocks (3) and showing improvement . I am also a CRPS patient as a result of a workmans company accident. The insurance for WC have been putting me and my doctors through hell in a hand basket there has not been any meds PT or symp blocks in over 4 mos as a result directly from insurance not authorizing anything including meds. I try to treat my crps with natural healing nutrition and meditative techniques as it is an only option even though my last hearing my initial diagnosis of left foot injury was amended to include CRPS and all body parts affected . I was hopeful until they decided at the Wc ins that they would no longer auto anything this my crps decided to spread from left foot all the way up my left side left hip entire spine upper neck and upper limbs both rt and left and my allydonia was out of control. My neck spine an d arms had been spamming and extremely painful for weeks and my doc had again ordered MRIs and more symp blocks and a SGb. Which only the sign was authorized -- I have no idea why this sudden act of kindness on Wc ins part to auth. But he'll - I'm in purgatory and decided to rush to first avail appt ASAP! So today I had the first SgB and I have the hoarseness the droopy eye the swallowing coughing a bit of dizziness but mostly have been lying here with massive headache and cannot sleep at all It's a horrible headache and feels like I'm either grinding my teeth or a jaw lock too . Of course my neck and arms feel better than ever in months and no allydonia which begins nightly. I am to speak with my dr tomm but was wondering if any of you experience the headache and if I can take something for it ! I need relief I want to sleep but am scared if any effects. I have 5 mg of Valium he prescribed I had to pay out of pocket for since was denied auth at pharmacy 800 mg of ibuprofen and even medical marijuana but am nervous to put another drug in my system but it's now 12:23 am got the SgB at 330pm and want relief. I must Ali mention this I am running on 4 hrs sleep and little to no food as it's tough to drink water without choking and hacking and food the same . Has anyone had these side effects? Help please all advise is appreciative

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  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,952
    I have re-read all these posts on RSD and it seems neck injury, sympathetic issues are a large part of it. I had a neck injury and autonomic issues hence sympathetic problems , I have several other issues but the Drs still can't decide why I have much more pain on right side vs left , if I cut my body in half I could have so much less pain on right side. I had early swelling in both right hand and right arm, some changes in nails and way it looked in color and skin. Those things don't happen any longer but the cold is ruining my life , it's literally the worst thing for me. I have allodynia also. I have small fiber neurapathy to and I see in some studies, this is present in many cases of RSD. I never thought I had RSD but no one can figure out the one sided part of my issues, it does not follow normal trend of my issues. Did all of you have visual changes and did they last? Is the cold in just one side?-
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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