*The FDA has not approved intravenous ketamine or NAD+ for the treatment of any psychiatric or pain condition. These articles reference off-label use. Like all medical treatments, the discussed therapies carry risks and benefits. Speak with a doctor at Clarus Health to learn if these therapies may be right for you.

Stellate Ganglion Block and PTSD

Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is a powerful tool for treating PTSD. Learn more about SGB effectivenes and safety

Stellate Ganglion Block and PTSD

The Stellate Ganglion Block is a powerful tool to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Learn from Dr. Kaveh what the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is and how it can help transform PTSD treatment.

What is the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB)?

The Stellate Ganglion is the bundle of nerves in your neck that controls your fight/flight/freeze response. When you see a lion jump at you, nerves in your Stellate Ganglion contribute to your instinctual response to run away.

Why "block" the Stellate Ganglion?

If your body has sustained significant, unsupported trauma, it can lead to you becoming "triggered" more easily. Instead of just lions triggering you, any number of other, more subtle things, may lead to your body going into fight/flight/freeze mode, such as:

  • Seeing people that have betrayed your trust
  • Voices of such people
  • Photographs or TV shows
  • Sounds, like fireworks
  • Intrusive thoughts that come into our head

This fight/flight/freeze response is a hallmark of living in survival mode. This response is also called a "sympathetic surge," referring to the sympathetic nervous system that rapidly takes control over our body when we are triggered.

The fight/flight/freeze response to triggers is also called a "sympathetic surge" because of our sympathetic nervous system "surging" into action

"Blocking" is like "Numbing"

"Blocking" a nerve is the same as numbing a nerve, like what you experience at the dentist's office. Numbing (or "blocking") the Stellate Ganglion uses similar medications to what your dentist uses for your teeth. These medications are local anesthetics, like Novocaine or lidocaine.

Why is SGB helpful for PTSD?

PTSD has several core symptoms that are rooted in our body's fight/flight/freeze response:

  • Hyperarousal: being easily triggered, frightened, or startled
  • Hypervigilance: being on guard 24/7 for danger
  • Outbursts of emotion or aggression in response to triggers

Some of these symptoms involve activation of the Stellate Ganglion to push our body into fight/flight/freeze mode. Blocking (or numbing) the Stellate Ganglion can help reduce the intensity of these symptoms.

How Effective is SGB for PTSD?

Many studies using SGB for PTSD healing have included veterans. The effectiveness to treat PTSD symptoms ranges from 70-80%, starting within days. It's effectiveness for PTSD, where traditional therapies may take months or years to work, has resulted in 95% of clinicians recommending SGB to colleagues treating these patients.

Is SGB a "Miracle Cure" for PTSD?

SGB is not a panacea. The duration of symptom relief varies between patients. Like IV Ketamine infusion therapy, the long-term effectiveness depends on what is done during the time of symptom relief. If the "break" from hyperarousal can allow for more effective talk therapy, for example, you may be able to make long term changes to your health.

The "break" SGB offers patients allows them to make long-term changes in their PTSD healing that will outlast the SGB's direct blocking effects

SGB is most effective as part of a comprehensive healing plan for PTSD.

Safety of the Stellate Ganglion Block

SGB was first described in 1925 and has been used to treat pain and heart rhythm problems. Because the sympathetic nervous system is known to be heavily involved with mood and psychiatric health, in 1947 SGB was used to treat depression and in 1990 for PTSD.

SGB is safe, and the use of ultrasound has further improved safety.

Learn more about SGB

Your comfort with your doctor providing your SGB plays a tremendous role in your healing. You deserve to find your healing potential. Schedule a free consultation with Clarus Health to learn if SGB with or without IV Ketamine Therapy is right for you.

Anthony Kaveh MD

Anthony Kaveh MD

Dr. Kaveh is a Stanford and Harvard-trained anesthesiologist and integrative medicine specialist. He has over 800,000 followers on social media and has guided hundreds of patients throughout transformative healing experiences. He is an authority on Ketamine, NAD, and SGB therapies. He is a registered continuing education lecturer in the Bay Area.