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Ganglion Nerve Block

Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care

Pain Management Physicians & Vein Specialists located across Northwest Indiana

No matter what causes your neck, shoulder, arm, or upper chest pain, a ganglion nerve block may be the solution that finally brings relief. This remarkable treatment also successfully and rapidly alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The specialists at Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care in Hobart, LaPorte, Merrillville, Munster, and Valparaiso, Indiana, have years of experience performing safe and effective ganglion nerve blocks. To learn if this treatment can help you, call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online.

Ganglion Nerve Block Q & A

What is a ganglion nerve block?

A ganglion refers to a cluster of nerves, which occurs all along your spine as nerves enter and exit the spinal cord. The team at Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care performs stellate ganglion nerve blocks, which specifically target nerve clusters in your neck.

During a stellate ganglion nerve block, your provider injects a local anesthetic at a targeted ganglion. The anesthetic blocks nerve signals, which in turn alleviates pain and other symptoms that originate in various body areas and that may be caused by different conditions.

When might I need a stellate ganglion nerve block?

Stellate ganglion nerve blocks treat pain caused by overactive sympathetic nerves. The sympathetic nerves naturally become overactive following an injury. However, the nerves may continue to trigger pain after the injury has healed, causing chronic pain.

Your provider at Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care may recommend a stellate ganglion block to relieve pain in your neck, arms, shoulders, and upper chest caused by conditions such as:

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (affecting the upper limbs)
  • Herpes zoster infection (shingles)
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Cluster or vascular headaches
  • Intractable angina
  • Peripheral vascular disease

A condition called central sensitization, which causes pain in response to something that should not be painful, may also improve with a stellate ganglion block.

Does a stellate ganglion block relieve PTSD?

Yes, a stellate ganglion block can successfully relieve the symptoms of PTSD. The collection of nerves that make-up the stellate ganglion control nerve activity in the area of the brain that triggers PTSD symptoms.

In a group of veterans whose PTSD didn’t improve with psychotherapy and medication, 75% experienced rapid symptom improvement after receiving one or more stellate ganglion blocks. 

What happens during a stellate ganglion block? 

All patients receive a topical anesthetic at the injection site. You may also choose to receive IV sedation. When the two are combined, your procedure is nearly pain-free. 

Your provider uses real-time X-ray imaging, called fluoroscopy, to view the spine and guide the needle to the targeted stellate ganglia. Once the needle is in place, they slowly inject a local anesthetic.

Though one injection can substantially reduce your pain, the team at Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care often recommends a series of injections, typically one injection a week for about six weeks. These regular injections retrain the nerves to fire normally, leading to long-lasting symptom relief.

To learn if your pain and other symptoms can be relieved with a ganglion nerve block, call Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care, or book an appointment online.