A number of recent articles have charted the incredible rise of a new treatment that has the possibility to cure patients, often Soldiers, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (often shortened to PTSD). Articles on Anxiety.Org, Medscape and others have captured the incredible personal stories of people touched by the stellate ganglion block technique. Such a simple technique has changed many individuals lives for the better and is starting to be backed by hard scientific data.
What is PTSD and how does Stellate Ganglion block PTSD in its tracks?
PTSD is a psychiatric condition that occurs when people suffer traumatic experiences. The patients will often relive these experience and have vivid and very unpleasant flashbacks to the event. They may also suffer from a short temper, become emotionally blunted or even depressed. For years the disorder had only psychiatric talking therapies to help its sufferers. Many of these treatments are highly unpleasant and include:
- Prolonged exposure – which forces the person to talk about the trauma and relive it until it is no longer painful.
The scary thing is many sufferers come out of these therapies without a cure. Still suffering flashbacks. Still haunted by their past experiences.
Now the stellate ganglion block technique seems to offer patients hope. By injecting a local anesthetic (a numbing agent) around the nerves that control many of the sensations associated with anxiety (like sweating, a racing heart etc) the thought is you can stop the cycle of reliving the experiences and cure the patients PTSD.
Real Life Stories Show Its Potential
Case reports of the treatment have littered the medical landscape for a number of years but rarely make it into the public eye – or more shockingly – to the eyes of those suffering from PTSD. Dr. Lipov, who pioneered the technique talk of a soldier who was suicidal before treatment. He has been through all the options talked about above and was at his wit’s end. 1 day after the procedure he was no longer suicidal. Four years later his wife reported he was almost normal, a “changed man” in her words.
“When I was told the Taliban had a hit put on me…. My brain and body began to react in unfamiliar and scary ways”
He began to experience anxiety and panic from the violence he had seen on his tour. Again talking to healinhero.org he recalls fighting alcoholism and the disease for almost 4 years before finding the stellate ganglion block treatment. He says that since the stellate block he is now back to his happy pre-war self.
The treatment doesn’t just work for War heroes. DesertSun.Com report the case of Megan Lowder, the Big Brother 19 star who has PTSD following a sexual assault. She reports avoiding shopping. But since the block? “I’m fine. It’s fantastic” she says.
These blocks are offered by a number of pain clinics as part of wider treatment for PTSD. The evidence is now stacking up that they could be a breakthrough in PTSD treatment