Lumbar Sympathetic Injections


A lumbar sympathetic injection is a procedure that involves the injection of local anesthetic to alleviate lower back or leg pain. The procedure is effective in treating:

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

  • Complex regional pain syndrome

  • Herpes zoster infection (shingles) of the legs

  • Vascular insufficiency

  • Peripheral neuropathy

The goal of lumbar sympathetic injections is to reduce pain and inflammation so the patient can resume normal activities and physical therapy. The procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Intravenous medication is administered to relax the patient

  2. The skin of the lower back is numbed with a local anesthetic

  3. X-ray guidance is used to position and insert a small needle into the back

  4. Contrast dye is injected to confirm the medication will reach the target area

  5. A local anesthetic or corticosteroid is then injected, providing rapid pain relief

The procedure lasts about 30 minutes and is performed in an outpatient setting.


Patients who suffer from the following conditions may benefit from a lumbar sympathetic injection:

  • Complex regional pain syndrome Type 1

  • Complex regional pain syndrome Type 2

  • Vascular insufficiency from small vessel blockage in the legs

  • Phantom limb pain

  • Herpes zoster infection in the legs

  • Painful diabetic neuropathy in the legs not relieved with medications