*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 for Anxiety

Learn how the Stellate Ganglion Block can help reduce anxiety symptoms

Stellate Ganglion Block for Anxiety

Anxiety affects nearly 1 in 4 women. Traditional anti-anxiety medications have many side effects and are not consistently effective. The Stellate Ganglion Block is a powerful treatment for reducing the "fight-flight" response that underlies many patients with anxiety. Learn more about how the Stellate Ganglion Block may help anxiety, especially in patients struggling with PTSD.

What is the Stellate Ganglion Block for Anxiety?

The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is an injection of numbing medication (like Novocain) at the bundle of nerves called the "Stellate Ganglion." The Stellate Ganglion controls your body's "fight-flight" response. When we numb these nerves, we can provide relief to conditions like PTSD, pain, irritability, long COVID, depression, and even hot flashes. Unsurprisingly, symptoms of anxiety can also be improved when the fight-flight response is attenuated, especially in those suffering from PTSD (and here).

How Does the Stellate Ganglion Block Help Anxiety?

We believe the SGB helps reduce anxiety through various pathways:

Norepinephrine (or noradrenaline) is just one of the "symphony" of stress hormones released in the brain during stress:

  • Noradrenaline: believed to shift focus from specific items to more general scanning of the environment, such as scanning for threats
  • Serotonin: hypothesized to reduces post-stress anxiety
  • Dopamine: released during moderate stress in the prefrontal cortex, believed help risk assessment and decision strategies

Interestingly, nerve growth factor travels from the Stellate Ganglion up to the brain (called "retrograde transport"), where it causes a potentially deleterious neuroplasticity.

The nerve growth factor (NGF) transported from the Stellate Ganglion up to the brain causes new nerves to grow and sprout in the brain regions susceptible to PTSD. If not stopped, these new nerve growths from NGF can worsen symptoms of PTSD, hot flashes, and complex regional pain syndrome.

The Stellate Ganglion Block Stops "Bad Neuroplasticity" That Can Increase Anxiety

Numbing medications, called local anesthetics, like lidocaine, stops these effects of nerve growth factor (NGF). The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) therefore helps stop these nerves from sprouting in these vulnerable brain regions. We believe reducing norepinephrine (NE) levels from the reduced NGF helps reverse the cascade of PTSD.

Indeed, norepinephrine (NE) levels appear to decrease of the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB). This decrease in NE is detectable in brain waves on electroencephalogram (EEG) and may contribute to sedation observed in some patients after SGB.

You Deserve to Find Anxiety Relief

Clarus Health offers multiple strategies to reduce anxiety. Using IV Ketamine, the Stellate Ganglion Block, and NAD therapy, Clarus Health provides personalized healing solutions for patients to take back control of their health. Learn more about our treatments with a free consultation.

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.