Upper body pain can hinder your ability to get through your daily routine. Pain in the upper extremities can be caused by irritation of the stellate ganglion. In this case, a stellate ganglion block is a minimally-invasive procedure that can provide lasting pain relief. 


What Is a Stellate Ganglion Block?


The stellate ganglion is a section of the sympathetic nervous system. It’s a group of nerves located at the front of the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae in the neck. The stellate ganglion innervates the head, neck, face, and arms.


A stellate ganglion block is a treatment for pain in the head, neck, upper chest, and upper arms. It’s an injection of an anesthetic medication into the neck, around the location of the voice box. The injection can ease pain, inflammation, and discoloration in the upper extremities. Additionally, a stellate ganglion block can improve your range of motion in the affected area, allowing for greater comfort throughout the day. 


During a stellate ganglion block, an x-ray or ultrasound is used to guide the needle and precisely administer the anesthetic. It typically only takes around 30 minutes to administer the injection. After the procedure, you can return home. Most patients return to their daily routines the day after a stellate ganglion block. 


What Can a Stellate Ganglion Block Be Used to Treat?


A stellate ganglion block can be used to treat pain in the neck, head, or arms due to:


  • Nerve injuries

  • Circulation problems

  • Angina

  • Shingles

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (type I or II)

  • Sympathetic maintained pain 

  • Phantom limb pain


A stellate ganglion block can also be done for diagnostic purposes to pinpoint the cause of neck, head, face, chest, and/or arm pain. 


What Are the Benefits of Stellate Ganglion Blocks?

Quick Pain Relief


After a stellate ganglion block, patients generally experience pain relief that improves over the course of a few days. 


Minimal Recovery Time


Patients may experience some symptoms after a stellate ganglion block, just as a sensation of heat in the face and eye redness. However, these effects fade in the hours following the procedure. Most people return to their regular activities the day after the procedure. 


Surgery-Free Pain Relief


Stellate ganglion blocks can provide pain relief in the upper body without the expense, recovery time, and risks of surgical procedures. 


To talk to our team about stellate ganglion blocks and how this procedure could work for you, contact us today.