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SGB PTSD Treatment Article

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by emmat, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Kim A4

    Kim A4 New Member Premium Member

    I am now 3 week after the SBG injection and feeling more relaxed each day. Another interesting thing I am keeping in my SGB diary is how the memories of the many traumas I had as a child are growing quickly dimmer, just like "regular" memories do. I imagine in my visualization of what is happening that the injection almost erased the deep imprint "embossing" of the events and converted them into a common event in my memory. I have contacted Dr. Lipov and my own doctor by mail this week, and am meeting today with the PTSD Center in New Haven CT as I am considering starting a fund or foundation to help others obtain this treatment as well. My pain doc is thrilled with my results and also confirms that the medicine has real logic and the procedure makes sense. Before the injection, I was easily startled and always anticipating another trigger event. I was restless and irritable. My general pain levels were more intense. Now I am peaceful and happy to "just be". I find fewer things to be concerned about or dislike, and I am already stopping most of my meds with no problems. I am sleeping like never before.
    My vision is to get this treatment to all Vets and any civilians who qualify. Even if the injection only helps for short stints of a few months at a time, I feel people can have an opportunity for cognitive breakthroughs not otherwise possible. I am positive now that although no substitute for real behavioral and cognitive "work", there is a biological and "mechanical" switch that those treatments cannot reach. After 25 years of every other available PTSD treatment, this injection has taken me to a place so much farther beyond other breakthroughs. We are all different, but if it can work for me, with a dozen complex traumas over 22 years, beginning the first day of my life, then I think there is great potential. Just like a broken bone, I believe that PTSD can at least partially be mended on a biological level.
    a3a2, zaniara, 5150angel and 2 others like this.
  2. Aj

    Aj Active Member

    I remember first writing on this subject on this forum, thinking, "Wow, this amazing treatment and all in one shot. It's just too good to be true." I have a steady relationship now and I'm taking zoloft, literally the lowest dose because of the side effects, and of course the SSRI's have there "side effects" that interfere. They also make me tired and lethargic at times. Since I got PTSD (ten years ago), I also developed a more severe case of IBS which is only truly curbed by, you guessed it, zoloft. I tried quitting but have undergone weeks of SSRI discontinuation syndrome which is hellish. It's so strange that while I still have PTSD, it's more of a general anxiety I feel including association and flashbacks. Whenever I drive I see an accident at least once flash in my head, even when I'm forced to pass the area where my accident was.

    Now I have read that the SGB can not only help with PTSD but IBS. This whole thing leads me to believe the theory of nerve overgrowth, i.e. heightened nerve sensations, which of course would cause a chemical imbalance from a normal brain chemistry. The nerve growth, to me, is only natural given the amount of stimuli and (for me) the fact that my PTSD was from nearly dying in a car accident and I am surrounded by cars daily.

    After so much time has passed, I truly want this procedure but I know I cannot afford it. I'm living off disability, I'm trying to make it through school since the PTSD inhibited me from going back when I was ten years younger. Unfortunately there are very little scholarships to help and money is so tight I can barely get by as it is. If there was a cost incurred, I don't think Medicare would cover it. BUT...I have to say how uplifting it feels to read accounts like Kim A4's and others giving me a the very least a SENSE of hope that this isn't a life sentence. I've dealt with the emotional side of my problem, I truly have a sense of closure with my accident despite the flashbacks, but the physiological part is just beyond my control and I truly hate being a slave to zoloft or persistently tied to chemicals. The side effects make it so hard to just live life without feeling the world is against you.

    So a big thanks to all of you who post here and have continued to pursue the facts/myths/etc. of the SGB for PTSD.
  3. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    So PTSD is still there and affecting you, just not as much. Is that what you're saying?

    If it is just the PTSD aspects, not all the memories, then I'm screwed for this later down the road, as I only have the PTSD aspects now, not all the negative memories hindering me.

    Kim, that sounds quite logical... something about memories though which is easily explained, is memories are stored based on emotional significant. I believe SGB numbs that aspect, which as theory seems to be showing in practice, that by numbing that emotional connectivity, the memory can lessen as you say, like all other memories off lesser emotional significance.

    Sounds very good still... looking forward to seeing where this goes over the next several years.

    Aj... chemical imbalance is myth by the way, just incase you did not know. You can read more on it at: http://www.ptsdforum.org/c/wiki/chemical-imbalance/
  4. Aj

    Aj Active Member

    anthony: I think my use of "chemical imbalance" is a more blanket term for neurological dysfunction. I consider a sedating drug like Zoloft is effective precisely for the reason it is sedating. However, I've used it for quite some time and recently truly tried to quit. However, as I stated, that was quite hard due to the seratonin relation to the brain-gut. I would like to stop and treat my IBS (which a lot of other PTSD patients have recorded as also having). But even after that, PTSD has left me anxious and emotionally tepid. I am feeling more and more like the SGB might be the only option I have for a true chance at a higher quality of life.
  5. Kim A4

    Kim A4 New Member Premium Member

    I spoke with the director at the New Haven PTSD Center yesterday and she was thrilled and very excited about my results. She said I am the first patient to mention, let alone have the treatment who has been there, and she emphasized that it also makes sense that the block is now "dimming" my traumatic memories as adrenaline is linked to memory storage. Adrenaline is also clearly linked to hyper-vigilance and accelerated heart rate- all the other aspects of PTSD that immediately stopped for me.
    Here is a link I quickly dug up about adrenaline (norepinepherine) and memories if you care to read it....http://www.nootropics.com/noradrenaline/index.html

    PTSD is, in my view, and as I am sure most will agree, is an uncontrollable recurrence or state of extremely heightened stresses, tied to known or unknown trauma memories, with the body acting as though they happened moments ago. The state of stress is easily re-triggered perhaps by the memories are hovering near or are attached to a trauma-induced adrenaline-pumping neuron "tumbleweed", in lieu of being "filed" with the other regular life memories that did not occur along with high adrenaline output or pairing (clearly I am not a doctor, so thanks for bearing with my layperson imagery).

    If the SGB truly trims back the branches of this "tumbleweed" of adrenaline producing neurons created along with trauma, it makes sense that the memories stored with that particular set of adrenaline neurons would also be "trimmed" back to more normal style memories.

    I do not think that one necessarily has to flash back immediately to the specific initial trauma memories when triggered, it is an unconscious connection the mind makes to survive, based on this heightened state of "non filed" memories that sometimes the oddest events can connect with in the brain. I had unexplained PTSD triggers for 40 years before I was able to finally consciously connect them to a recurring and upsetting childhood event.

    My ever-protective brain, however, recognized the similar circumstances and put the adrenaline response into action without any control from me. That part of my neural response area was overflowing with adrenaline and it was quick and easy to activate the "tumbleweed" and make the anxiety re-happen.

    Now, after the SGB, I do not react the same at all, as I feel the brain no longer has the same access to the excess adrenaline trigger cluster, so it moves any potentially triggering circumstances along like any other normal circumstances. The trauma/adrenaline/memory neuron clumps acted as a roadblock to normal processing, in my thinking. I feel that the SGB removes the panic-inducing neural roadblock and allows a clear path to processing events in a relaxed and easier way....no more adrenaline tumbleweed tangles to f-up the flow or hold trauma memories front and center.
    zaniara and 5150angel like this.
  6. Aj

    Aj Active Member

    I have to ask: are there any side effects to this procedure?

    My curiosity is peaked when I consider the adrenaline connection. Does that mean that if you're put in a position of heightened tension or adrenaline filled that you might relapse? Or does that not seem to be the case, given the neutralizing effect on the "tumbleweed" as it is?

    Has it in any way inhibited your life? Or has it simply returned a sense of control over the already pre-existing emotional peaks that one reaches in different circumstances?

    I'm financially very poorly off but I am seriously considering this procedure so any information you can offer would be appreciated.
  7. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Yes, there are side effects to all treatments. This one's worst side effect, is death, which Dr Lipov states can and does happen due to the anestetic, not the procedure itself.

    The risks overall are minimal from my understanding, it is more purely that some people have severe reactions to anestetic itself, which is what this procedure uses. The results are still out though, as this is so new... some last weeks, month/s, year or more. Every person so far is quite unique on how long it lasts and the effects of it, which are based on severity of the trauma and symptoms.

    This may be the cure for 95% of people with PTSD in the coming years, it certainly looks good right now from results.

    I would recommend anyone who has the money, or could get the money, and wants to give it a shot, to give it a shot. Obviously everyone decides this for themself.
  8. TLight

    TLight VIP Member

    I have a consultation with a pain specialist who does the procedure tomorrow.
    Keep ya all posted.
    Aj and anthony like this.
  9. pdxwriter

    pdxwriter New Member

    I'm sorry it's taken me a while to post this. It'll be a bit abbreviated but I'm available to answer questions here or privately. I think I'm posting to the right thread but I'm fine being moved by The Powers That Be.

    On February 17, I flew to Chicago, IL, thanks to the Chicago Medical Innovations Foundation and received my first Stellate Ganglion Block, administered by Dr. Eugene Lipov. I learned about the treatment here on the Forum.

    I think it saved my life.

    Prior to the trip, my symptoms were worsening. I'd lived largely a-symptomatic for most of a decade but the death of my parents coinciding with the birth of my twins (both normal triggers for significant flareups for those of us with C-PTSD according to Judith Hermans' book Trauma and Recovery) introduced me to a range of symptoms the likes of which I'd never felt before.

    Fifteen minutes after receiving my SGB I was completely symptom free, including even that baseline static of hypervigilance I'd accepted as an ongoing part of my life. Given that I've had PTSD since early childhood, the entire world suddenly looked different. For five days, I was completely symptom free. And when the symptoms crept back in, it was just that mild static...which left again after my second treatment on March 31. I've continued to be symptom free since and I'm now nearly weaned off my antidepressant medication.

    I know that the SGB isn't effective for everyone but my understanding is that it is effective for 90% or more of us who suffer from PTSD. It's still to soon to know how long it will last but some involved with Dr. Lipov's treatments are still free and clear after two years and two treatments. The theory is that it re-boots the sympathetic nervous system. And it's an old procedure, used for pain, that is very safe now with the advent of flouroscopes. Truly: Fifteeen minutes and I had results. That's quite an accomplishment given how many other treatments I'd tried with minimal results garnered over long stretches of time and effort.

    And after years of being treated like a psychiatric disorder there is now solid evidence that PTSD is a physiological condition -- what the Doc calls a complex cortical injury -- that can be treated beyond SSRIs, tranquilizers, EMDR and CBT in a far more effective (and cheaper) manner for many -- if not most -- of us. And getting the IV put in was more uncomfortable than the actual injection to the neck.

    I remember telling my primary care physician, my therapist and my best friend that I wouldn't make it another year if we didn't get the symptoms under control. Now, I'm back and feeling fabulous. I'm working on my book again, enjoying my family and processing all that happened while I was lost in the fog. I've not been triggered, needed a tranquilizer or experienced anything close to the anxiety I was feeling even the morning before that first treatment.

    I can't recommend enough that those of you suffering with PTSD or caring for someone who suffers from it look into whether or not the Stellate Ganglion Block is offered anywhere near you. Or look into making a trip to Chicago. The cost is extremely low and there's a foundation to help.

    I'm Very Grateful to the Forum for pointing me towards Lipov and his work. Thank you all.
    a3a2, jesse, 5150angel and 4 others like this.
  10. The Albatross

    The Albatross A product of decisions rather than circumstances Premium Member

    Wonderful news, and I'm so very happy for you!
  11. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Who's trippin' now? Staff Member Premium Member

    That all sounds really hopeful pdxwriter. Thanks for sharing your great news with us, and I hope the results last for a long time (maybe forever?);)
  12. Aj

    Aj Active Member

    anthony: Is there a name of this anesthetic? I've undergone deep and local anesthesia personally, but I don't know what kind is used. Do they test your reaction before hand if you are concerned? So many questions, my apologies.
  13. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt!

    If you look it up here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anesthetic you will see there are a ton of diffferent types of anesthesia! I've never heard of them testing anyone first beforehand with it. In my experience, they just give it to you.

    Ah I was disappointed to hear you have to be knocked out for it. I go under just fine.. it's the waking up part that causes issues with me. :( I only get anesthesia when it's life threatening due to the issues of getting me back awake again.

    bec
  14. TLight

    TLight VIP Member

    Well, back from the pain doc.
    He had never heard of it being used for PTSD, but willingly said he'd look it up.
    He has a VA clinic right above his office so he said he'd talk with some of them also.

    Issues he had were the following:
    1. I'm a Medicare patient and it would not be authorized, unless he unethically billed it under something else, which he said he would not consider.
    2. Even if I paid for it myself, he said that would violate his contract with Medicare.
    3. He was very concerned about liability issues if something goes awry.
    4. He suggested I contact UW Pain Clinic (which I had already but they were booked out until late August). He said they would likely be more comfortable performing the procedure, especially if it could be logged under some research.

    So it appears at this point, I'll contact UW, but I think getting the procedure is likely going to be very tough since it has not been approved for PTSD. I tried the Fibromyalgia avenue, but it has never been shown to help that either.

    So unless you have a chronic pain condition like the other poster, getting a pain doc to agree may be difficult if not impossible.

    He also kept repeating that he couldn't understand how on earth it could help when the effects only last 5-6 hours in pain patients. Although he admitted he was entirely uneducated on the subject in relation to PTSD.

    He was very compassionate but reluctant. But something tells me I peeked his interest enough to do some thorough investigating.
    ps. He didn't charge me for the consultation.

    Next step...approach University of Washington.
  15. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Yep, even the FDA can't touch this, because there is nothing newly introduced, it is merely a change in what is existing being used in a procedure that is know to correct other aspects already.

    I have only read one or two places in the US doing this so far... not sure how many others are around, but its not going to launch in momentum until more and more are done, and those statistics are recorded, published, and empirically proven and substantiated by independent sources. This will take years IMO...

    I would still say, anyone in the US, if you had the money to do it, book an appointment with the location wherever it is within the US, fly across to the appointment and give it a shot. You could only bolster whether this is a success or failure, which would certainly speed up the results.

    To my knowledge, whilst it is experimental, it also isn't officially, as stated, it uses existing approved practices and medication by the FDA, its only the location and PTSD that is new to it.

    Look forward to reading your adventures with this Tlight.
  16. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

  17. Amy2

    Amy2 New Member

    Can you please pass along the name of the doctor you found willing to perform this and their office contact information if you have that as well? Thank you very much, I would greatly appreciate it!
  18. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

  19. Aj

    Aj Active Member

    I am mostly curious of the post-SGB effects. Are there any side effects? Physically, emotionally, etc? Or is this literally comparative to a correction that is neurologically and physiologically based?

    I am really encouraged when I read accounts like pdxwriter, especially given my fear of a second injection. I'm still sort of new here so to read other people who suffer the same symptoms...that in and of itself is so relieving. I have a friend who when through a similar traumatic event but touts the fact that he overcame his effects shortly after whereas I am still suffering ten years later.
  20. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    There is no longevity of testing yet AJ, so such information is not even available. Basically, you either make yourself available to be a guinea pig for the process, or you sit back and wait to see what the side effects are from longevity testing on others.
  21. Aj

    Aj Active Member

    Thanks Anthony. You've proven to be a valuable resource on here and it's truly and greatly appreciated.
  22. IchBin

    IchBin Member

    Kim, I just recently heard about this treatment and I am extremely interested in it. I submitted a request form on Lipov's website (Chicago Medical Innovations) yesterday. I'm curious if you set up an appointment and paid on your own or participated in a study he was doing? Did you have to wait a while and/or have a referral for the shot?

    Also, did you formerly have problems besides hyperarousal that the injection helped rectify e.g. paranoid thoughts, intrusive thoughts, social anxiety, projection, anger, sadness, cognition problems etc.? Do you still attend therapy of any kind after getting the shot?
  23. Kim A4

    Kim A4 New Member Premium Member

    Hi IchBin. Thanks for your questions. I actually went to my local Pain Doctor in my city, as most pain clinic doctors perform SGB treatments all the time for pain diagnosis and management. I showed him the article I had found on the Web, and he, being an open-minded fellow, agreed to perform the block as designated by Dr, Lipov (right side at C6 vertabra). My pain doctor had never done the procedure for PTSD before, but due to other upper body pain issues, it was already not off-label completely for my treatment. The cool this about all this is that anyone (typically pain doc are anesthesiologists) trained in SBG administering can also help PTSD. My local doctor has also agreed to administer any booster SGB shots for my PTSD, should I ever need another. He was thrilled and excited by the results almost as much as I was. I tend to think the treatment may be permanent, however, based on the science I am finding.

    Prior to the injection, I had Complex PTSD, beginning at infancy and with a dozen or so other incidents of abuse-driven trauma until the age of 22. I had suffered from social anxiety from not knowing if a trigger event would occur while with friends, long-term and often severe depression, frustration and obsessiveness/anxiety since the age of 10 (I am now 46). I was paranoid in the sense that the verbal abuses I had endured were self-exaggerative and easily believed to be true (I no longer verbally "abuse" myself as the painful memories fade more and more.)
    As I may have mentioned prior, adrenaline is tied to memory, so the injection which snips down the adrenalin-producing neurons caused by trauma, also makes the trauma memories fade to a non-arousing "normal" memory status.

    I am also now theorizing that many PTSD vistims may often obsess over stress-related activites due to the excess adrenaline and unconscious desire to "fix" the traumatic issues. If you are familiar with Cindy Sheehan, the American mother whose son died in Iraq, and who relentlessly pursues anti-war and anti-government causes, I feel she may be a good example of trauma-induced adrenaline looking for a "purpose". But I digress....

    To answer your question, I was in talk therapy consistently from the age of 22 until this year, and also used EMDR, DNMS and other alternative cognitive therapies. I took all the meds and supplements for years. I did all the 'talk" work that could be done....over and over.
    Since the shot, I have touched base with my regular therapist of the last 15 years and the head therapist at a regional PTSD clinic one time each, to tell them of how the injection has helped me. I am only 7 1/2 weeks post SGB, but have no urges to see a therapist at this time. I also stopped my meds a few weeks ago and feel great without them so far. I am convinced that PTSD has a biological component that only the injection could help.

    I have tried to contact Dr. Lipov several times through email and snail mail but with no reply, so I have no experience with making an appointment with him. Had my local doc not agreed to do the injection, I would have sought Lipov for the treatment, however. I spoke with a local combat vet last week who is 7th on the wait list for a controlled trial by Lipov, and eagerly awaiting his turn...which is made available as funding for the study is available. I am not sure how a "paid" appointment works with his office, but would like to know if you can share his availability with me. Many have asked me about this and I am curious as to how quickly he can take patients now.

    The only side-effect I have noticed is possibly more vivid and odd dreams, despite falling and staying asleep better.. Not nightmares, per say, but much stronger imagery. I am hoping it may be my brain processing over a great deal of information not previously "processable" with the PTSD interfering.
    Kim
    a3a2, Aj and IchBin like this.
  24. Kim A4

    Kim A4 New Member Premium Member

    As a recipient of the SGB for PTSG 8 weeks ago, I can report that I am doing wonderfully. I am off all my meds already and have no pending therpist appointments (after 24 years of consistant sessions) at this time. I love life again and continue on my quest to inform and educate as many as I can on this amazing procedure.
    The only side-effect that I notice is possibly more vivid dreams, although sleep is better overall. I also feel that the treatment saved my life, and my local pain doc has agreed to give me a booster shot should I ever need it (although I have a feeling based on what it does that it is a permanent fix).
    As for the anesthesia, because the injection literally only takes one or two minutes, only "twilight" IV sedation is needed (where you are awake, just a little "high"), and a little Novocaine at the injection site. Honestly, I have had dental fillings that were more uncomfortable and involved.
    a3a2 and Aj like this.
  25. OKRADLAK

    OKRADLAK New Member

    Sure wish these new treatments were available but by and large they are not. Insurance won't pay and they cost thousands.

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