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The SGB shot: The shot in the neck that can help you fight PTSD.

What exactly is a Stellate Ganglion Block AKA “The SGB”?

The SGB has become a very popular and effective treatment for resetting the “fight or flight” response in people who suffer from PTSD and other trauma.

The Stellate Ganglion nerve bundle is a small group of nerves that are located near the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae. These nerves are part of your Sympathetic nervous system. The SGB is an injection that delivers an anesthetic into the nerve bundle. The anesthetic acts like a “Reset Button” for the Sympathetic nervous system. Allowing the patient to operate out of the “fight or flight” response.

The SGB shot is not a “wonder drug”, “Miracle pill”, or a “Magic Wand”. It’s a valuable tool and resource. When it comes to trauma, we must work through it under the guidance of trained professionals. In my own mental health journey, it was only after going through inpatient treatment, regular therapy sessions, and outpatient treatment that I felt comfortable trying the SGB. Not everyone needs to follow the same path, I simply recommend that you seek help and assistance through a therapist first.

Therapy, medication, and mindfulness were my most valuable tools, but when I had to start facing real-world stressors and re-engage with other people, my anxiety, hypervigilance, and ability to focus seemed to always be impacted regardless of what I did. That’s when my doctor finally recommended that I try the SGB.

The procedure is simple and not painful… well maybe a tiny bit. I can o

nly speak to my experience but it is worth sharing in hopes it might help others.

The SGB shot is a treatment option at my primary care facility here where I live. I simply made an appointment at the clinic and I received all of my appointment information over the phone. I was instructed to show up 30 minutes prior to my appointment and bring someone that could drive me back home. Trust me, make sure you bring someone to drive you home.

Like any other Doctors appointment, you’ll have to fill out the mandatory medical forms and be prepared to wait a few minutes while the nurse preps the room. When your name is called, start a timer, because you’ll be out of that room in 25 minutes, MAX!

The nurse will prep you for the procedure, which is nothing more than inserting a saline block, taking your shirt off, positioning you on the table, and prepping the injection.

Once the Doctor arrives, he’ll say a few jokes, ultrasound your neck, deliver the numbing agent, and send an incredibly long needle deep into your neck. You won’t feel anything, but you’ll hear it. That’s right, you’ll hear the needle as it passes through the tissue and enters its final destination, the Stellate Ganglion nerve. You’ll feel pressure as the Doctor delivers the magical formula. Then, as quickly as it happened, it's over. However, the fun has just begun.

After the procedure, the doctor will monitor you for a few minutes, and after about 40 seconds you will feel the effects. For me, the first thing that I always notice is my voice. My voice changes into a raspy smoker’s voice, think 1920s Jazz musician. Next, my right eye will start to droop, I’m not even kidding, I look like Forest Whitaker or that crazy Hyena from “The Lion King”. Finally, I experience a weird euphoric state that can last the entire day, which is probably why they don’t let you drive yourself home.

After the treatment, I feel completely at peace and free of stress. I don’t feel the crippling anxiety that I deal with daily. My drive to work isn’t filled with breathing exercises and Daily meditation tracks. When my phone rings, my mind doesn’t race, and immediately go into a panic frenzy. If I walk by the Memorial pictures at work, I don’t feel the same pain, dread, or the need to not be there. I still do all my normal self-care and mental health practices, I see my therapist, practice mindfulness, take my medication, and meditate.

The SGB allows me to live without feeling like I am always on edge. I don’t feel like I am on the verge of losing control. I wake up feeling normal, not primed for a “Fight or Flight” response. I don’t try to hide from life. I feel free and relaxed. The knots of anxiety that I feel in my stomach disappear.

The procedure itself has grown and advanced far beyond what the Military offers, the SGB procedures I receive are good for a few weeks, sometimes even a full month. However, as I stated before the SGB shot is not a “Wonder Drug”. The SGB procedure is not something that can be sold or marketed as being 100% effective when it comes to every individual. It has been widely tested and used to treat many individuals who suffer from PTSD, but it is not 100% successful for everyone.

To learn more about the efficacy of the SGB, please go to the Stella Center Website. The Stella Center is not only leading the way with the SGB procedures but they also offer

other treatment options as well.

Remember, when it comes to PTSD and treating any meant health issue always start by seeking help from qualified and trusted Therapists and Doctors. The SGB should never be the first course of treatment that you seek out.


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