Non-Drug PTSD Treatment Confirmed in Walter Reed Report

Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Bethesda, Md., has published
case reports detailing the successful treatment of combat-related
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a stellate ganglion bloc (SGB).

SGB is a 10-minute procedure during which local anesthesia is injected
next to the stellate ganglion, a collection of nerves in the neck. SGB has been
used safely to treat chronic pain and other ailments since 1925, but Eugene
Lipov, MD, a Chicago-area anesthesiologist and researcher, has pioneered this
approach for the treatment of PTSD.

In duplicating Lipov’s work, the WRAMC team, led by Lieutenant
Colonel Sean W. Mulvaney, MD, found that, “unlike conventional treatments
for PTSD, SGB appears to provide results almost immediately. Both patients
experienced immediate, significant and durable relief.”

The WRAMC case reports, published in the May issue of Pain
, concluded that “selective blockade of the right stellate
ganglion at C6 level is a safe and minimally invasive procedure which may
provide durable relief from PTSD symptoms, allowing the safe discontinuation of
psychiatric medications.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeing an increasing number of
soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with a mental disorder such as
major depression or PTSD. As deployments lengthen, those numbers are expected
to grow.

“If we could use the stellate ganglion block to treat these
patients, we might be able to turn back the tide and stop the surge of
PTSD,” Lipov said in a news release. “Multiple attempts were
undertaken to secure funding for randomized, controlled trials to quantify the
efficacy of SGB, but the primary obstacle to funding has been the lack of a
theoretical model to explain how SGB relieves PTSD and its simplicity. We are
hoping that Dr. Mulvaney’s confirmation of our results will open the door
to further research so that PTSD sufferers all over the country –
ultimately, all over the world – will be relieved of this debilitating

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