A Stellate Ganglion Block can be diagnostic or therapeutic. It can be done diagnostically to find the source of pain in the head, face, arms or chest. It can be done therapeutically to manage pain in those areas due to shingles, angina, etc. or pain that is chronic in nature. Also it may be done to reduce excessive sweating.
The stellate ganglion is a group of nerves located at the base of the neck at the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae. They are part of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system which regulates the body’s unconscious movements such as digestion, heart beating, and sweating. The sympathetic nervous system is mainly responsible for the body’s fight or flight response which causes: pupil dilation, sweating, faster heart rate, increased blood flow and more in response to danger or activity. It is also in control of maintaining homeostasis which is balance with in the body.
A Stellate Ganglion Block is done by injecting pain relieving medicine into the stellate ganglion. It is administered in an effort to reduce the release of norepinepherine, a chemical that stimulates the nerve to feel pain and to eliminate any inflammation.