According to the American Institute of Stress, approximately 77% of people experience anxiety that affects their physical health and 73% of people reported that stress impacts their mental health.
If you are experiencing chronic anxiety and are continuing to search for a treatment that works for you, then a stellate ganglion block may be the answer.
What is Chronic Anxiety?
Chronic anxiety is a constant, prolonged feeling of anxiety that negatively impacts your health if not treated. This type of anxiety is caused by modern lifestyles such as high-pressure jobs, family responsibilities, and/or traumatic experiences.
Chronic anxiety occurs when the body repeatedly experiences stressors that the autonomic nervous system is unable to activate the relaxation response regularly. This leaves the body in a constant state of physiological arousal that includes increased heart rate, increased breathing, vision changes, and more.
Symptoms of Chronic Anxiety
Chronic anxiety impacts both the mind and the body and the symptoms of stress will vary in severity from one person to another. The most common signs of chronic anxiety are:
- Aches and Pains
- Decreased Energy/Fatigue
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Feelings of Helplessness or Loss of Control
- Frequent Illnesses and Infections
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Headaches or Muscle Tension
- Irritability, Nervousness, and Anxiety
- Trouble Concentrating
What is a Stellate Ganglion Block?
A stellate ganglion block (SGB) is a medical procedure where an injection of long-lasting local anesthetic is injected into the neck near the main nerve that controls the fight or flight response.
Recently, there have been multiple medical studies completed that show that an SGB has significant long-term effectiveness in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Once checked in at the medical center, paperwork is signed, and vitals have been taken you will be asked to lie down and an IV will be started. Intravenous medication will be used to calm you throughout the procedure.
A pain specialist will use an x-ray guidance to find the stellate ganglion near the base of the neck. Once they find the stellate ganglion, they will inject a local anesthetic near the nerve.
The entire SGB procedure takes less than 10 minutes to complete. You will be monitored post-injection by either a doctor or nurse practitioner to ensure the procedure was successful before being sent home.
Patients who have positive responses to the procedure may have additional stellate ganglion blocks in the future to continue receiving relief.
Side Effects of SGB
The most common side effects are bruising, soreness, drooping eyes, tearing up, and nasal stuffiness. These symptoms disappear within hours of having the procedure.
The majority of patients have very little chance of complications with this procedure. If a patient is on blood thinners or has an active infection this procedure is not recommended.
Why is SGB Effective?
Stellate ganglion blocks work by anesthetizing the stellate ganglion nerves at the base of the neck. These nerves provide the majority of the sympathetic nerve signals to your head, neck, arms, and upper chest.
The sympathetic nervous system is a part of the autonomic nervous system and it’s responsible for the bodily functions that happen without us acknowledging them – like breathing, heart rate, sweating, etc.
The SGB blocks the nerves that are constantly sending distress signals to the brain and body. Essentially, the SGB resets the nerves that are stuck in the fight-or-flight response which allows for long-term relief of chronic anxiety and PTSD symptoms.
Pain Management with Arizona Pain and Spine Institute
At the Arizona Pain and Spine Institute we are excited to offer cutting-edge treatments. One treatment is the use of amniotic fluid-derived regenerative medicine stem cells. These stem cells restore damaged soft tissues and provide an additional anti-inflammatory effect.
If you are interested in learning more about SGB for the treatment of severe anxiety and/or regional pain syndrome, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled pain specialists!