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Stellate Ganglion Block: A New Hope for PTSD Patients

Stellate ganglion block (SGB) might sound like a term from a sci-fi movie, but it's actually a medical procedure that's showing promise for people dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It's no secret that PTSD can severely impact people's lives, but recent studies suggest that SGB may offer some relief.

So, what is a stellate ganglion block? Picture the stellate ganglion as a junction box for your nerves, located in your neck. This is the area that SGB targets. The procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic into this 'junction box', intending to 'reset' the fight-or-flight response that's often overactive in people with PTSD. The SGB procedure, in essence, attempts to 'reboot' this system. SGB has been performed by pain physicians for decades to treat certain types of arm pain.

The evidence so far has been promising. One study published in "The American Journal of Psychiatry"[1] found that a single SGB treatment significantly reduced PTSD symptoms for up to 3 months. Another study in the "Journal of Traumatic Stress"[2] also demonstrated the immediate and sustained efficacy of SGB in improving PTSD symptoms.

Moreover, a third study published in "Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine"[3] concluded that SGB is a safe procedure, with the majority of patients reporting immediate improvement in PTSD symptoms. These benefits included reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and overall better quality of life.

While it may seem odd to think of a procedure traditionally used for pain relief as a potential treatment for PTSD, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. SGB has shown promise, offering hope to those who have struggled to find relief through conventional treatments.

The injection takes 5 minutes and is performed with ultrasound guidance which minimizes complication risk. If you are nervous about the procedure, we can perform it with sedation. If you are interested in learning more about this procedure, please call us at 205-208-9001.


  1. Mulvaney, S.W., Lynch, J.H., Hickey, M.J. et al. (2014). "Stellate Ganglion Block Used to Treat Symptoms Associated with Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series of 166 Patients". The American Journal of Psychiatry.
  2. Lipov, E.G., Navaie, M., Brown, P.R., Hickey, A., Stedje-Larsen, E.T., McLay, R.N. (2013). "A Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blinded Study of Stellate Ganglion Block for Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder". Journal of Traumatic Stress.
  3. Lynch, J.H., Mulvaney, S.W., Kim, E.H., de Leeuw, J.B., Schroeder, M.J., Kane, S.F. (2020). "Effectiveness of Stellate Ganglion Block With Bupivacaine Infusion for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial". Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.