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Stellate Ganglion Block Specialist

StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine

Holistic Medicine Specialists located in Skokie, IL & Frisco, TX

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that affects each person differently, and no single medication or therapy works for all. At StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine in Skokie, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Miami, Florida; and the West Loop and River North areas of Chicago, and Miami Beach, FL, the board-certified anesthesiologists and pain physicians offer stellate ganglion block treatment to help patients with PTSD, as well as chronic pain conditions. Find out more about the stellate ganglion block and how it might help you by calling the office most convenient to you or booking an appointment online today.

Stellate Ganglion Block Q & A

What is a stellate ganglion block?

The stellate ganglion block is an injection that contains a local anesthetic that your provider injects into your stellate ganglion, located in the front of your neck.

The stellate ganglion is a collection of sympathetic nerves. Part of your sympathetic nervous system, the stellate ganglion controls involuntary functions in your head, face, and arms such as blood vessel contractions and your fight-or-flight stress response.

Though the stellate ganglion isn’t a sensory nerve, an injury or infection may sensitize the nerve, causing various pain conditions or altering function of the nerve to trigger blood vessel spasms. 

The stellate ganglion block stops the transmission of the messages from the nerve to your brain to ease symptoms. 

Who benefits from a stellate ganglion block?

Traditionally, stellate ganglion blocks benefit conditions that affect the upper body, including:

  • Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain from shingles infection)
  • Excess sweating in the head, arms, or hands
  • Radiating angina (chest pain)

 

The injection eases these pain conditions by blocking the pain signals or the functions of the stellate ganglion causing the pain, like blood vessel spasms. 

Researchers now are finding that the stellate ganglion block benefits people with PTSD, a mental health condition that occurs after a traumatic or life-threatening event.

For those suffering with PTSD, researchers theorize that the sympathetic nerve injection may block the fight-or-flight response, easing their symptoms. The stellate ganglion block for PTSD, however, works best when combined with therapy and other treatments. 

What happens during a stellate ganglion block?

A stellate ganglion block is an outpatient procedure that takes about 30 minutes. Your provider at StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine reviews the details of your injection at your consultation so you know what to expect.

You may be given a sedative prior to the injection to help you relax. While you lie on your back on an procedure table, your provider cleans the skin on the front of your neck with an antiseptic agent and administers a local anesthetic.

Using ultrasound guided imaging, your provider inserts a thin needle into the front of your neck to the site of your stellate ganglion and injects the medication.

What can I expect after a stellate ganglion block?

Patients with PTSD may experience immediate relief from symptoms. For pain conditions, results vary and relief may last a few days or a few weeks. 

Your providers at StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine may recommend additional injections, for pain or PTSD, so you get the best results.

Why ultrasound?

We use ultrasound due to the many advantages over fluoroscopy or x-ray. Ultrasound is a dynamic test which shows real time location and direct visualization of vital structures in the neck, such as the carotid and vertebral arteries, internal jugular vein, thyroid, esophagus, and various muscles. Fluoroscopy or an x-ray is a static test that does not show any of the vital structures, since this modality shows mainly bone. The physician cannot see nerves, arteries, veins, or other soft tissue structures. Using fluoroscopy, a needle is placed blindly near the stellate ganglion, which can increase the risk of permanent injury to the patient (nerve injury, vascular injury, lung puncture). Ultrasound also has NO radiation, whereas x-ray/fluoroscopy does expose the patient to radiation. Ultrasound can thus be considered a much safer way to do this procedure.

Find out more about the stellate ganglion block and how it might benefit your health and well-being by calling StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine, or book an appointment online today. 

 

Resources:

The Efficacy of the Stellate Ganglion Block as a Treatment Modality for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Active Duty Combat Veterans: A Pilot Program Evaluation.

Odosso RJ, Petta L.

Mil Med. 2021 Jul 1;186(7-8):e796-e803. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usaa246.

PMID: 33242072

Behavioral health clinicians endorse stellate ganglion block as a valuable intervention in the treatment of trauma-related disorders.

Lynch JH, Muench PD, Okiishi JC, Means GE, Mulvaney SW.

J Investig Med. 2021 Jun;69(5):989-993. doi: 10.1136/jim-2020-001693. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

PMID: 33727214 Free PMC article.

Ultrasound Versus Fluoroscopy for Stellate Ganglion Block: A Cadaveric Study.

Hughey S, Schafer J, Cole J, Booth G, Tuttle R, Stedje-Larsen E.

Pain Med. 2021 May 29:pnab182. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnab182. Online ahead of print.

PMID: 34051103

Stellate Ganglion Block for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety [Internet].

Li Y, Loshak H.

Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2021 Mar.

PMID: 34255448 Free Books & Documents. Review.

The Successful Use of Left-sided Stellate Ganglion Block in Patients That Fail to Respond to Right-sided Stellate Ganglion Block for the Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Retrospective Analysis of 205 Patients.

Mulvaney SW, Lynch JH, Curtis KE, Ibrahim TS.

Mil Med. 2021 Feb 13:usab056. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usab056. Online ahead of print.

PMID: 33580677

 

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