Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, over one million individuals have lost their lives. Over 86 million cases have been reported. It is speculated that this number is actually much higher since many individuals did not report their tests and were isolated at home.
If you or a loved one contracted COVID, you might be dealing with a new phenomenon known as long COVID. You have likely struggled with countless treatments or therapies that aren’t working.
Have you tried searching “stellate ganglion block long COVID”? A stellate ganglion injection just might be the solution to your ongoing symptoms.
Are you interested in learning more? We have compiled a complete guide on what a stellate ganglion block is, how it works for long COVID symptoms, and getting started with treatments today.
Keep reading on for more information!
What Is a Stellate Ganglion Block?
A stellate ganglion block is a local anesthetic administered in your stellate ganglion. Most of the population has a stellate ganglion, a bundle of sympathetic nerves located along the anterior portion of your neck.
These sympathetic nerves are responsible for sympathetic responses in your neck, head, and upper torso/extremities. To better understand a stellate ganglion back for long COVID, it helps to know what sympathetic nerves are responsible for.
Your sympathetic nervous system is a branch of the autonomic nervous system. These are systems of nerves responsible for automatic reflexes, such as:
- Saliva production
- Pupil dilation
- Heart rate
- Neurotransmitter release
When sympathetic nerves activate, it triggers your flight or fight response. Next, the adrenal gland release norepinephrine and epinephrine. This results in various natural reflexes such as an increased heart rhythm, tense muscles, inhibited digestion, and more.
A stellate block essentially resets your autonomic nervous system. Particularly, it mitigates your fight or flight response. Your fight or flight response is necessary for instances where you need to react quickly.
An example is when you have an immediate threat to your physical health, such as an oncoming car. Other times, your body switches to your sympathetic nervous system when it perceives a threat.
This can leave patients in a chronic state of high stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, there are also many automatic functions that you don’t have control of. You may have several adverse physical symptoms when your sympathetic nervous system is hyperactive.
Stellate Ganglion Block Long COVID Reports
You’ll often hear the shortened term “SGB” describing stellate ganglion block injections. Recent SGB long COVID studies show promising results using this therapeutic approach.
Long COVID symptoms include many autonomic nervous system malfunctions, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal sweating
- Heart palpitations
- Orthostatic hypotension
Recent studies examined 152 patients post-COVID. They found autonomic dysfunction symptoms were approximately 49.9% more prevalent than pre-COVID.
Long COVID symptoms and treatments are still being studied. However, stellate ganglion blocks show promise to help reset sympathetic nerve fibers. The end goal is to reduce adverse symptoms and potentially decrease long-term pharmaceutical treatments.
Other Causes of Long COVID
Other reports have found links between elevated c-reactive proteins (CRP) and COVID severity. High initial CRP levels had closer ties to mortality after 14 days.
In most cases, CRPs increase with infection and decrease once the body has recovered. In long COVID symptoms, CRPs may remain elevated. With patients undergoing dialysis, researchers studied:
- Autonomic nervous system function
- Cognitive impairment
They found that increased CRPs occurred after dialysis. This might tie into the changes in cognition and the nervous system. It provides further insight into some of the impairments noted in long COVID patients.
Benefit to SGB for Long COVID
The benefit of a stellate ganglion block for long COVID patients is reduced sympathetic hyperactivity. SGB injections have been widely used to treat:
- Hot flashes
Many of these conditions are multi-causal and increase sympathetic activity. In PTSD studies, approximately 96% of experts noted that SGB injections had the most improvements in arousal and reactivity.
It also works almost immediately. Rather than spending weeks determining if anti-depressants or other medications work, an SGB injection offers fast results.
1. Relieve Pain
Many patients visit a stellate ganglion block treatment center for chronic pain. Complex regional pain syndrome is one of the diagnoses often treated with an SGB injection.
Comprehensive studies found that 12.6% of long COVID patients had chest or throat pain. It is still unclear why long COVID symptoms include pain.
Experts believe that it might be related to gene expression. One of the key benefits of SGB injections is pain relief. It often targets relief in the upper thoracic and extremity regions.
This makes it an excellent option for long COVID patients who are also experiencing chronic pain six months after.
2. Improved Blood Supply
SGB injections also improve blood flow throughout the region. Increases in blood flow bring nutrients and heal tissues.
Most times, fight or flight responses slow digestion and constrict blood vessels. Relaxed blood vessels reduce the risks of hypertension. It improves oxygenation and creates less strain on your cardiac system.
3. Block Sympathetic Nerve Activity
The key benefit of SGB injections is rebooting the autonomic nervous system. This process works through a few steps:
- A qualified practitioner injects an anesthetic
- The anesthetic blocks neural connections
- Reduce neural activity decreases symptoms
Overall, it lessens sensitivity, which is ideal in patients with hyperactive systems.
4. Reduction of Adrenal Hormones
Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for adrenal hormones. The two main hormones and neurotransmitters released are:
When sympathetic nervous systems activate, catecholamine increases. High amounts of hormone release and catecholamine cause a unique chain of events.
It activates your parasympathetic nervous. With this sudden shift, you may feel:
In severe instances, it may result in fainting. This group of symptoms falls under postural orthostatic hypotension. It has been found more commonly in long COVID patients.
A stellate ganglion block assists with adrenal hormonal regulation. When your sympathetic nervous is misfiring, it can affect your parasympathetic nervous system. The result is fluctuations in your blood pressure.
How Does the Procedure Work?
There are two primary types of SGB injections:
Both procedures require a medical professional since it involves an in-depth knowledge of your anatomy and physiology. Before the procedure, your physician will have you lay flat on your back.
An x-ray or ultrasound helps give the physician a better idea of where to direct the needle. The actual procedure is over within minutes.
Afterward, you will likely wait in a recovery room to monitor any adverse symptoms. It is helpful if you have a friend or family member that can drive you home.
Otherwise, the procedure does not require any anesthesia. You should be able to continue with your daily activities.
Stellate Ganglion Block Side Effects
When searching “SGB COVID Maryland,” one of the questions you likely want to answer is the risks and side effects. Most risks that scare you on the internet are mitigated through a qualified and experienced medical professional.
In the long term, a stellate ganglion block can help reduce many adverse long COVID symptoms. Most side effects occur immediately after the injection, including:
- Warm sensation
- Feeling like there’s a lump in your throat
- Red eyes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nasal congestion
Talk to your doctor if you start noticing these symptoms worsen. However, most symptoms resolve once the anesthetic wears off.
How To Find an SGB Clinic
Long COVID is a new diagnosis. Most facilities that offer stellate ganglion block for COVID patients may advertise PTSD treatments or other disorders.
This shouldn’t deter you from asking about their experience with long COVID symptoms. The main characteristics you should look for in an SGB clinic are:
- Transparent pricing
- Excellent customer reviews
Certified doctors reduce unwanted side effects and adverse outcomes. They can provide more education on whether you meet the SGB injection criteria.
At SGB Docs, we have two board-certified physicians. They have years of experience treating multiple disorders. Another benefit of choosing SGB Docs is comprehensive care and follow-up appointments.
With two close locations, including SGB Mt. Airy, Maryland, you can find close and effective treatments.
Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment Elkridge, Maryland
Have you searched “stellate ganglion block long COVID”? This year has brought new studies to light regarding long COVID side effects.
It has become more apparent that your sympathetic nervous system might play a role in your symptoms. If you or a loved one has suffered from long COVID symptoms, you could qualify for an SGB injection.