Substance use disorders are incredibly common among the population of the United States, with millions of people suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Many of these millions will not receive treatment because of misconceptions about the treatments during recovery. Many of the nationwide programs and therapies offered at treatment centers are safe. However, it is understandable that people may be concerned about the safety of procedures they’ve never heard about. One of the newest treatments is stellate ganglion block, and dispelling any misconceptions about it could open more people to this promising treatment.
If you have been looking for stellate ganglion block options in Massachusetts, the Weymouth treatment center of Rockland Recovery can help. Not only do we offer stellate ganglion block, but we also have a range of evidence-based and holistic approaches to addiction treatments. Our compassionate and professional staff members are passionate about supporting the community of Weymouth to break free from substance use disorders. Every member of our team understands that addiction is a disease, and to heal from it, our clients need support from start to finish. We can help you work to be a truer version of yourself without substance use. Contact us at 855.732.4842 to take the first steps to recovery.
How Does Stellate Ganglion Block Work?
To understand the risks involved in the stellate ganglion block procedure, one must understand what it is and how it works. Stellate ganglion block is a procedure healthcare providers use to treat and diagnose pain, anxiety disorders, and addiction. The goal of injecting a long-acting type of anesthetic into a bundle of nerves called the stellate ganglion is to block or impede a person’s overactive sympathetic nervous system. This system plays a major role in responding to dangerous or stressful situations by increasing heart rate, diverting energy from non-essential systems, and increasing muscular function.
While the sympathetic nervous system is vital in situations where there is actual danger, if it is overactive, it can cause a person to experience chronic stress and anxiety that can be debilitating if left untreated. By limiting the sympathetic nervous system’s functions, those suffering from long-term anxiety or addiction can find relief from their symptoms. Some of the more common conditions treated with stellate ganglion block include:
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type I or II
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance use disorders
The doctor administering the treatment will typically numb the injection site with a first injection of a local anesthetic. Then, with the guidance of an ultrasound, the doctor will deliver the second injection with the long-acting anesthetic directly into the stellate ganglion. This second injection is deeper and must be more precisely placed to ensure the treatment works as intended.
Safety of Stellate Ganglion Block
With any medical procedure, there are risks, side effects, and the possibility of complications. However, since a stellate ganglion block is effectively just two injections, it is considered non-invasive, and the risks are generally very low. Some side effects can be expected from blocking the sympathetic nerves. These will generally last while the local anesthetic is effective, for about four to six hours:
- Drooping eyelid on the injected side
- Stuffy nose
- Warm skin and temperature increase
- Hoarse voice
All the risks and complications of a normal injection also apply to the procedure, including bleeding, infection, and soreness of the injection site. Thankfully, serious side effects and complications are very rare for this procedure. Overall it is considered safe and highly effective for most people.
Learn About Stellate Ganglion Block Options in Massachusetts at Rockland Recovery
If you have been searching for treatments for a substance use disorder and associated anxiety, a stellate ganglion block may be part of your comprehensive treatment program. However, this must only be administered under the direction of an addiction specialist and physician. At Rockland Recovery, our medical team discusses all treatment options with clients to develop an effective treatment program. To learn more about how we use a variety of therapies and treatment modalities, contact us at 855.732.4842.