What is a Stellate
The stellate ganglion is part of the sympathetic nervous system that is located in your neck, on either side of your voice box. A stellate ganglion block is an injection of medication into these nerves that can help relieve pain in the head, neck, upper arm and upper chest. It also can help increase circulation and blood supply to the arm.
A stellate ganglion block is used to diagnose or treat circulation problems or nerve injuries, including:
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Phantom limb pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type I or II
- Herpes zoster infection (or “shingles”) affecting the head, neck, arm or upper chest
How Long Does the Pain Relief Last?
Some patients report pain relief immediately after the injection, but the pain may return a few hours later as the local anesthetic wears off. Other patients have longer term relief that outlasts the duration of the local anesthetic and helps them to reduce their medication use and increase their participation in physical therapy.
How long the pain relief lasts is different for each patient. Some may be pain-free for days or weeks. Usually people need a series of injections to continue the pain relief. Sometimes it takes only two injections; sometimes it takes up to ten. The relief tends to last longer with each treatment.
What Happens After the Procedure?
Do not drive or do any rigorous activity for 24 hours after your stellate ganglion block. You can return to your normal activities the next day. When your voice returns to normal, you may begin to sip water through a straw and gradually work up to eating solid foods.