Using the Stellate Ganglion Block Procedure to Treat PTSD

Using the Stellate Ganglion Block Procedure to Treat PTSD

Published: January 29, 2022

The stellate ganglion is a bundle of nerves that is located on either side of the neck near the voice box. It is part of the cervical sympathetic chain, a key component to the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for regulating the “fight or flight” response. This connects parts of the brain that control the central autonomic network to the rest of the body.

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 Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is a procedure during which a long-lasting local anesthetic is injected 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.

Multiple studies have shown that a right-sided SGB results in long-term improvement to chronic anxiety conditions.  By turning “off” the sympathetic nervous system, SGB may improve many aspects of life that are regularly affected by PTSD such as sleep, relationships, mood, daily activities, and more. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes to complete and benefits have been reported in as little as 30 minutes. 

Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) Procedure to Treat 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

It’s important to note that the SGB procedure does not directly treat PTSD, but an effective way to help manage the symptoms. Symptoms may return with a triggering incident, so it is important to establish care and have routine follow-up with a licensed Behavioral Health professional. 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 affordable and accessible treatment option. If you would like to learn more about stellate ganglion blocks for PTSD, please fill out the form below or contact our office. 

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