What Is the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) for PTSD?

A stellate ganglion block (SGB) injection is a local anesthetic injection and minimally invasive procedure used to treat a wide range of conditions, including pain, hot flashes, and sleep disturbances. Recent evidence shows that SGB injections may also treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when other treatments have failed to reduce symptoms.

Hudson Medical has extensive experience in SGB treatment for PTSD and can answer any questions you may have about this treatment. Here’s a closer look at what SGB injections are, how they work, and how you can book a consultation with us to see if you are a candidate for this treatment.

What Is Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment?

SGB treatment targets a group of nerve cells inside the neck known as the stellate ganglion. The stellate ganglion is part of the sympathetic nervous system and plays an essential role in a person’s “fight or flight” response during potentially threatening situations.

SGB has been used for several years to reduce pain in the head, face, chest, neck, and arms. It may also improve circulation in the upper part of the body and decrease excess sweating and hot flashes. It may now be used to successfully treat PTSD with fewer risks and side effects than that associated with medications and many other traditional PTSD treatments.

During SGB treatment, we use X-ray and ultrasound to carefully guide a needle into the Stellate Ganglion at the base of your neck. We then inject a local anesthetic agent into the nerve tissue, similar to how a dentist may numb your gums before dental surgery. The anesthetic usually wears off after a few hours, though the effects of SGB treatment often last for several weeks or months.

Here at Hudson, we have extensive experience with using SGB injections to treat PTSD. In our experience, most patients notice a significant difference in their symptoms immediately after the injection. There are instances where the blocks need to be repeated, on the same side of the neck or the opposite side. In some cases, we also apply a Pulsed Radiofrequency to the Stellate Ganglion to further extend the results.

How Does Stellate Ganglion Block Help with PTSD?

PTSD is characterized by symptoms including flashbacks of the traumatic event, frightening thoughts, and avoidance of places and feelings related to the traumatic event. PTSD often triggers the fight-or-flight response to keep people in a constant state of stress and fright. SGB treatment can help reduce this fight-or-flight response in patients with PTSD to help them feel more at ease and recover from this serious anxiety disorder.

A JAMA Psychiatry study published in the fall of 2019 compared the effects of SGB treatment with placebo in military personnel diagnosed with PTSD. Researchers learned that PTSD symptoms in the group who received SGB treatment improved by 34% over eight weeks compared with 15% over the same period in the placebo group.

Many people with PTSD suffer from other symptoms and health conditions that can be improved with SGB treatment, such as insomnia and chronic pain from injuries that may have occurred in combat. The effects of SGB on people with PTSD may also help these individuals relax enough to engage in other treatments such as support group therapy and trauma-focused psychotherapy.

If unsure whether you represent an ideal candidate for SGB injections for PTSD, make an appointment with one of our doctors at Hudson Medical. Our team at Hudson Medical has extensive experience with this unique and alternative treatment method.

Contact us today at 646-596-7386 to schedule a consultation or request a consultation online. Our medical providers remain on standby to answer your questions about our many wellness and pain management services.