The abuse may be behind you, but the feelings of trauma and freefall follow you around.  As much as you’d like to move on with life, you’re constantly reminded of what happened and frequently go on “red alert.”  To make matters worse, every time you experience a PTSD trigger, you’re reminded not only of the original trauma, but of the last time your PTSD was set off.  It is a vicious cycle.

Stellate ganglion block (SGB) is a completely medical procedure that can help break the cycle by calming your reactions to PTSD triggers.  If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, it’s very likely you’ve seen a psychologist or psychiatrist, and that that mode of therapy has helped to one degree.  SGB is complementary to therapy, in that it can work in tandem with a therapist’s efforts, or can pick up where they left off.

The stellate ganglion is a bundle of nerves that is located deep in the lower neck. It is located within the cervical sympathetic chain. Sympathetic nerves play a strong role in our fight-or-flight response. When you have PTSD, these nerves malfunction and are constantly sending distress signals to your brain and body. Injecting local anesthetic (numbing medicine) around these nerves is called a stellate ganglion block (SGB). SGB resets these nerves that are chronically in fight-or-flight response. This is similar to rebooting your computer; after the “SGB reboot,” your nerves function normally. Stellate ganglion block (SGB) injections need to be performed under either ultrasound and/or fluoroscopic guidance as there are major blood vessels and organs nearby. The SGB injection is not new and has been used for 100 years to treat painful conditions such as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of the upper extremity. More recently, SGB is being used to treat PTSD.

Contrary to popular belief, stellate ganglion block is not only a PTSD treatment option for veterans and law-enforcement officersIt’s effective for a wide range of PTSD sufferers, including victims of domestic abuse.

I (Dr. Jason Attaman) have helped people in all kinds of situations overcome their PTSD.  Besides my medical experience, I am in a unique position to help because I understand a few things that may be true of your situation:

  • You feel you’ve exhausted your options, between therapy, antidepressants or other medications, and advice from others.  Those may have helped, but you’re not out of the woods yet, and your time and patience are stretched thin.
  • If you’re a woman, you may be anxious around all or most men.  It’s not personal, and perhaps it wasn’t always that way, but ever since the abuse, it’s not a reaction you can control.
  • You worry the treatment may be painful, and you are concerned that you might not be in control.

In my care, you’re always in the driver’s seat, and what you are comfortable with is exactly what we’ll do.  With stellate ganglion block I have helped many domestic abuse victims calm their nerves, move past PTSD, and regain control of their lives.  It is fulfilling for me and doubly so for my patients.  You can contact my office in Bellevue, WA to discuss your needs and to schedule an appointment.

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About the Author: Phil Rozek

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