Lumbar Sympathetic Block

What is a Lumbar Sympathetic Block?

This medical procedure is an injection that desensitizes branches of nerves in the lower back.  It aids physicians to search and address a list of issues in line with these nerves.  Normally, a number of injections is required to address these issues. These sympathetic nerves traverse both sides of the spinal cord. These nerves are related to a long range of functionalities that you don’t deliberately control. These functions consist of circulation, digestion and sweating. 

Low Back Pain

Severity of low back pain can vary from mild to debilitating. While pain may not be constant, there is potential for the condition to worsen with time. Depending on the cause, common symptoms include:

  • muscle spasms,
  • tightness of the lower back,
  • burning or stinging pain,
  • and difficulty performing certain activities.


The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. When irritated, it causes the condition sciatica. Sciatica usually affects one side of the lower body. It’s diagnosed as a pain that radiates from the lower back and down the thigh and leg. The pain can be either sharp and dull, and is usually accompanied by numb or tingling sensation.

What does the procedure look like?

The patient lies down on their stomach (or on the side) while getting ready for the procedure. A medication to relax your nerve is given while the skin and tissue of the back is desensitized using a local anesthetic.


The doctor pushes a needle and meticulously leads it towards the sympathetic nerves. This is made possible by the use of an x-ray device called a “fluoroscope”. The fluoroscope reveals a video image of the needle’s location. The use of a contrast dye increases the accuracy of locating and validating the location of the needle. Following the careful validation of the needles exact position, the doctor positions a steroid-anesthetic medication.

This prescription bathes the inflamed nerve roots which will help ease the pain being experienced by the patient. This procedure also manages and reduces the pain and inflammation of the nerves.  Other benefits can be derived from this procedure depending on your condition. After the procedure, the needle is withdrawn and the entry point in the skin is cleaned and bandaged. Post procedure monitoring will be done within a few hours, before you are sent home. Most patients after the procedure experience leg numbness and frailty. This is a normal occurrence and can be felt for a few hours. There is also a possibility that you might need additional injections in the future.

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We want to assure our patients that Portland Pain and Spine remains open and actively managing your pain. Medication management is given the highest priority. Our relocation across the hall in the Washington building is complete but requires office renovation before we can accommodate patient visits. Staffing shortages affected our ability to communicate last month, however, this was temporary. Dr. Balog has reached out to all patients but asks that if anyone has additional questions or concerns to contact him at
We have updated our phone messaging system to assist with calls. There are now options to speak with a live receptionist, leave messages or speak with our new billing company. Medical record requests can be processed on our website at and are handled by Morgan Records Management. Thank you for your patience during this transition. We look forward to providing you high-quality care as we enter into 2024! 

Wishing you all a joyful holiday season.