Every healthcare system has its benefits and drawbacks. One of the drawbacks of the Canadian health system is that meeting with a qualified pain management specialist can mean a wait of six months or more. In Canada there simply aren’t enough pain management specialists. The Canadian government itself is aware of the problem

In the meantime, some people’s pain is so intense and life-affecting they simply cannot wait. The same is true of the symptoms of PTSD, one of the primary conditions that a stellate ganglion block (SGB) may be used to remedy.

Here at our clinic in Bellevue, WA, we see many Canadian patients who find the inconvenience of travel to be small compared to having to wait so long for a simple injection that can help put an end to the raging anxiety, irritability, depression, flashbacks, chronic pain, and other symptoms associated with PTSD. 

If you are in the Seattle area for whatever length of time, you can consult with Dr. Jason Attaman to find out whether SGB is right for you.

Stellate Ganglion Block Usually Requires 2 Doses

An effective stellate ganglion block requires an initial shot and a follow-up shot about a week later. Though you should experience instant relief with the initial shot, the follow-up shot helps to boost those effects and can provide you with years of symptom relief. 

If you’re coming down from the Vancouver metro area, for instance, it’s a relatively short road trip. We’re open on Saturdays, so you can make a weekend of it each time. 

If you’re coming from farther away, we recommend booking both appointments in advance and planning to spend that time in the beautiful Seattle metro area. Take in the Chihuly exhibit, visit Pike Place Market, take in the troll, and dine at any number of excellent restaurants. The SGB procedure takes less than 30 minutes each time, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself before and especially after the “business” part of your visit. 

SGB Costs

A full round of SGB treatments with two shots will cost $2000 to $4000. You should plan to pay those costs out-of-pocket. As of this writing, it is impossible or near-impossible to find any American insurance plan that would pay them for you, including short-term plans.

Hotel Options

In case you’re factoring our Bellevue office location into your lodging decisions, the nearest hotels aren’t within walking distance, but the Hilton Garden Inn, the Kasa Bellevue Seattle, and the Courtyard by Marriott are all a short drive away. In addition, the 116th Ave NE and NE 12th Street transit stops are right outside our door, and it’s easy to take a bus from any hotel option. Plus, parking in Bellevue, though still challenging at times, is somewhat easier than in Seattle and isn’t quite as expensive. 

Long-Term Follow-Up 

Most patients experience at least six months of relief from an SGB shot, so if a 2nd visit is needed after the 2-shot course of treatment, you won’t need to come back for quite a while. Many people experience years of relief. And there’s a group that combines SGB with psychotherapy, which often helps those people never need a shot again.

Either way, you should understand that SGB is not usually a permanent procedure, though it is long-lasting one. You should work potential follow-up visits into your long-term planning. You might not need them, in which case you can plan something else, but just keep the possibility in the back of your mind.

Get Help Today

If crossing the 49th makes sense for you, the chances are that we can help. Our patients have found SGB remarkably effective for PTSD.  You can contact Dr. Attaman’s office in Bellevue today to schedule an appointment.

About the Author: Phil Rozek

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