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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD and CRPS) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I) and Causalgia (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)(RSD and CRPS)

Having a Stellate Ganglion Block, how effective are they?

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Unread 11-01-2012, 05:33 PM   #1
KathrynL
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Default Having a Stellate Ganglion Block, how effective are they?

I'm due to have a stellate ganglion block on Tuesday to treat RSD/CRPS Type I in my left arm. The RSD/CRPS is located from my left shoulder blade, down my arm to the border of my hand/wrist. I've had RSD for 9 years, but I was in remission for 7. It came back in my arm in April. The pain was starting to back off a little, but it during the past week, it's increasing again. I've been out of work since May on short-term disability through my workplace. I'm supposed to go back to work on Nov. 20th. Will the stellate ganglion block be effective enough to allow my return?

I had a lumbar block 8 years ago to treat my first bout of RSD in my left foot. After 2 blocks the RSD seemed to go away until this past April when it reappeared in my arm. Because it's a different body location and different block site, I'm concerned I won't get the same kind of relief. As my return-to-work date nears, I'm worried that the block won't work and won't relieve the pain enough to allow me to function at work.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Any advice?
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Unread 11-01-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
1sadhaka
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Originally Posted by KathrynL View Post
I'm due to have a stellate ganglion block on Tuesday to treat RSD/CRPS Type I in my left arm. The RSD/CRPS is located from my left shoulder blade, down my arm to the border of my hand/wrist. I've had RSD for 9 years, but I was in remission for 7. It came back in my arm in April. The pain was starting to back off a little, but it during the past week, it's increasing again. I've been out of work since May on short-term disability through my workplace. I'm supposed to go back to work on Nov. 20th. Will the stellate ganglion block be effective enough to allow my return?

I had a lumbar block 8 years ago to treat my first bout of RSD in my left foot. After 2 blocks the RSD seemed to go away until this past April when it reappeared in my arm. Because it's a different body location and different block site, I'm concerned I won't get the same kind of relief. As my return-to-work date nears, I'm worried that the block won't work and won't relieve the pain enough to allow me to function at work.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Any advice?
I have had a number of stellate ganglion blocks and they were worth doing for me - I would absolutely go for it - particularly given your previous success with the lumbar block! I understand that everyone responds at varying degrees - and while I still have CRPS in my upper left extremity, the improvement was worth it. Best of luck to you - go in knowing it will help you!
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Unread 11-01-2012, 10:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 1sadhaka View Post
I have had a number of stellate ganglion blocks and they were worth doing for me - I would absolutely go for it - particularly given your previous success with the lumbar block! I understand that everyone responds at varying degrees - and while I still have CRPS in my upper left extremity, the improvement was worth it. Best of luck to you - go in knowing it will help you!
Just finished a series of two yesterday. Total? maybe #20 or so....maybe more. My CRPS is type II and seems to be sympathetically mediated so still responds very favorably, for several months anyway, to SGB's. Still, each block and outcome is like watching "Groundhog Day." I am curious, why do you think you had a 7 year remission and then all hell broke lose again? I am at 4 1/2 years post-onset/injury.
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Unread 11-02-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
KathrynL
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Just finished a series of two yesterday. Total? maybe #20 or so....maybe more. My CRPS is type II and seems to be sympathetically mediated so still responds very favorably, for several months anyway, to SGB's. Still, each block and outcome is like watching "Groundhog Day." I am curious, why do you think you had a 7 year remission and then all hell broke lose again? I am at 4 1/2 years post-onset/injury.
I have no clue what happened. Still trying to figure it out. I do have severe Psoriatic Arthritis--which is an inflammatory arthritis similar to Rheumatoid. The neurologist believes that's what caused my RSD to come out of remission. I don't remember a specific injury, but I tend to be a clutz and don't always remember.
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Unread 11-02-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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The outcome is different for everyone with these, I think, so it's hard to tell. Unfortunately they only provided me with very temporary relief but they work well for some. Really hoping it works well for you!!
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Unread 11-26-2012, 09:24 PM   #6
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The stellate ganglion blocks are wonderful and blissful periods when all sympathetically mediated pain is mercifully and completely SILENT!!

However, depending upon the size of the areas affected and the skill of the doctor, the length of time they last vary widely. I have had them last for as short as 6 hrs and as long as 5 days for the Upper Extremity (Cervical) Stellate Ganglion Blocks I have had.

They did improve my pain it seemed for about a month afterward however, so it might help you return to work.

Good luck and please post your results or let me know!

Best of luck
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Unread 11-27-2012, 10:12 AM   #7
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I have had RSD for 1 1/2 yrs in my left hand/wrist and shoulder. I had my first stellate ganglion block 6 months ago. I had put it off before this because quite honestly I was scared after the procedure was explained. These was no way I could have gone thru it with no sedation. When I did have it done I had no relief....the pain intensified. I was kept for 4 hours after the procedure and given IV meds to help control the pain. The pain was much worse and it took 3 months to get back to the point I was at before the block. This is not the outcome for many, some have great relief. Have the procedure explained thoroughly and make the best decision for you.

Good Luck and please your with the result.
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Unread 11-27-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Kathryn - I hope you had success with the blocks.

When I was first diagnosed in 1991 with RSD in my face, they treated me very aggressively with stellate ganglion blocks and meds. I was in remission for 13 years. Now, I did have some minor flares during that 13 years, but nothing like before the blocks so I still consider that remission. Not sure what brought it out of remission. Then in 2009, I injured my right hand and it spread with a vengeance! In addition to my face, I now have it in both hands, left arm, both shoulders, left leg and both feet. They tried the blocks again this time, but it was really too late for them to work on me.

I am all for trying SGB's because they helped me so much at one time. Of course, everyone is different in how they respond.

All the best,
Nanc
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Unread 11-30-2012, 09:52 PM   #9
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Default Fluoroscope

Absolutely insist that the doc use a fluoroscope during the procedure. This is simply an imaging, xray in real time. It will let him see exactly where the needle is and prevent hitting anything else.. i.e. a bone. This happened to my daughter and the result was much like anne523 described. Prior to the bad one, they did have a positive effect. And yes... anesthesia!!
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Unread 12-02-2012, 10:13 PM   #10
redraidermommy
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I love getting the stellate gangloin blocks! Im sore for a few days after, but I LOVE the relief it brings! Mine usually last for about 4-5 months....for me, it is worth it!
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