While many remain unfamiliar with it, Stellate Ganglion Blocks (SGB) can be a life-changing advance in modern medicine to help calm anxiety and fear-based responses. SGB is a safe, ultrasound-guided injection that targets a collection of nerves in the neck, blocking impulses that trigger fear- and anxiety-based responses in our bodies, such as with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). SGB is an outpatient procedure, taking less than thirty minutes to administer. The effects, which are often felt immediately, can last for up to several years.
At NW Regen, we listen to our patients and address any concerns they may have. Since many don’t have an extensive understanding of SGB, we’ve compiled the top five questions we hear.
1. Does it change my personality?
No, SGB affects how your body responds to external stimulation, not your personality. By improving the buffer between stress and our response to it, it helps the innate adaptive ability of our body to handle the situation better. As a result, we have less fight or flight responses. We become more adaptive and less reactive.
2. Does it hurt?
Of all the orthopedic injection therapies we perform, SGB is the least painful injection series. Patients describe it as slightly more uncomfortable than a basic blood draw.
3. How will I feel afterward?
There is usually a short period of mild dizziness felt immediately upon sitting after the procedure, which can last up to a minute or two. After that, there can be a sense of disorientation for about ten to fifteen minutes. Within 45 minutes of the procedure, most people have a sense of feeling calmer and more relaxed.
Patients also generally experience mild injection site soreness that lasts for a day or two. Far less frequently, some will get a scratchy voice with a feeling of a lump in their throat and mild trouble swallowing.
4. How long do the benefits last?
This varies from patient to patient, though some researchers believe the results are permanent. In our experience, if people have a positive response and have taken steps to reduce stressors, we agree with that assessment. Otherwise, the benefits can last several months or more. At that point, the procedure can be repeated as needed.
5. Is it dangerous?
SGB is an extremely safe procedure, with very few side effects. As with any medical procedure, it must be performed by a qualified practitioner who uses proper ultrasound image guidance, understands the local anatomy, and is trained to handle any potential risks or complications and/or side effects.
SGB has been proven effective not only for those suffering from PTSD, but also for those working in jobs in high-stress environments. Currently there is exciting new research for people suffering from Long Covid symptoms such as anosmia/parosmia. From our perspective, we’ve used it at NW Regen, with great success. In fact, our very own Dr. Wood was interviewed about this topic on the Edge on Regenerative Medicine Podcast. Tune in to learn more or contact us to set up a consultation to discuss this option further.
Dr. Ryan Wood is a licensed Naturopathic and Chiropractic physician focusing on interventional orthopedic and orthobiologic medicine and injection therapies as well as general musculoskeletal and non-surgical orthopedic medicine.
With almost two decades of orthopedic practice across multiple disciplines, he has the necessary experience to ensure proper diagnoses and management of complex cases.