Stellate ganglion blocks (SGB) is a procedure that affects the “fight or flight” response. This is tied to the sympathetic nervous system, a nerve that connects parts of the brain which control the central autonomic network to the rest of the body.
Multiple studies have shown that a right-sided SGB procedure results in a long-term improvement to chronic anxiety conditions. The sympathetic nervous system is “turned off” through the SGB procedure, allowing that part of the brain to reset. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes to complete and benefits have been reported in as little as 30 minutes.
Stellate Ganglion Block for Treating PTSD
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is classified as a chronic anxiety disorder caused by experiencing traumatic events. It could be something that is significantly horrifying, frightening, or distressing. Common examples include:
- Military personnel exposed to war or combat exercises
- Witnessing someone being hurt or killed
- Surviving a destructive earthquake or flood
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Having a loved one commit suicide or homicide
The stellate ganglion, part of the cervical sympathetic chain, is key to the sympathetic nervous system. When someone is living with PTSD or other chronic anxiety conditions, their “fight or flight” response is always triggered as “on,” as if there is no off switch. The SGB procedure injects a long-lasting anesthetic around the stellate ganglion which turns off the “fight or flight” response for a few hours. During this time, the brain has the chance to reset, and the neurotransmitters go back to non-anxiety mode.
Stellate ganglion blocks can improve many aspects of life that is regularly affected by PTSD, like sleep, relationships, mood, daily activities, and more.
It’s important to note that the SGB procedure is not a cure for PTSD, but an effective way to treat the symptoms. Symptoms may return with a triggering incident. Many patients find it helpful to have the treatment repeated if they have had a positive response to the procedure before.
How We Can Help
This type of treatment for PTSD is not covered by insurance, but because of its success rate and the positive impact it can have on so many military individuals and those suffering from PTSD, Texas Pain Experts is pricing this procedure so it is an affordable and accessible treatment option. Both Dr. Lautenschlager and Dr. Hoch served in the military and understand the importance of helping those who have proudly served this country.
If you would like to learn more about stellate ganglion blocks for PTSD, please fill out the form below or contact our office.