Stellate Ganglion Blocks

Imbalances of the autonomic nervous system particularly those involving the sympathetic nervous system can cause many health problems. Conditions such as Raynaud’s syndrome, CRPS, PTSD, hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating), and several pain syndromes often result from sympathetic overload.

The stellate ganglion is a collection of nerves that is located at the base of the neck. Its primary function is to modulate the amount of sympathetic output into the body. A stellate ganglion block can be used to decrease sympathetic tone into the head and upper extremities. This can result in decrease in headaches, PTSD, neck and arm pain, sweating, and circulatory issues.

A stellate ganglion block should be performed with ultrasound imaging to guide the injection, safely directing the needle to the desired location and away from sensitive anatomy. Upon localizing the stellate ganglion, a dose of anesthetic is delivered which will deactivate this nerve bundle for 12 hours, and which may decrease symptoms of sympathetic hyperactivity for weeks to months. This injection can be performed safely with just a small amount of local anesthetic into the skin at the injection site, though, if desired conscious sedation can be used to help the patient relax during the procedure.

Dr. Harris has performed hundreds of these injections safely and with good effects. He has a very keen interest in this procedure and is currently conducting an ongoing research study regarding the effects of stellate ganglion blocks as treatment for chronic/complex PTSD and developmental trauma.

As data are collected, plans are in place to publish the results of this study in a scientific journal in 2023.

If you have any of the above conditions, or feel that a stellate ganglion block might be beneficial for you, contact Dr. Harris’ office for a consult to discuss your needs and this potential treatment. Depending on the particular diagnosis, this injection may even be covered by your insurance.