By Jim Fausone
Veterans Disability Attorney
The number of troops that return with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), can range as high as 30% of the force in combat. Some veterans suffer mild PTSD and with counseling and support can get past it. Many others are debilitated by the effects of war and post-traumatic stress. A Chicago based anesthesiologist has proposed that a shot of a local anesthetic in the neck, a stellate ganglion block, can and will provide relief.
Dr. Lipov explains there is a group of nerves in the neck called a stellate ganglion that is a part of the sympathetic nerve system; which among other things sends pain messages to the brain and controls stress, including the fight-or-flight response. When someone experiences trauma, the stellate ganglion produces an increased amount of nerve growth factor, which causes excess nerves to sprout in the brain, according to Lipov. This leads to overactive stress response and anxiety, Dr. Lipov hypothesizes. By injecting the stellate ganglion with anesthetic, the nerve growth factor returns to normal levels, the excess nerves die off and the symptoms subside. The shot settles down the sympathetic nervous system, resetting the brain to where it was before the trauma. Dr. Lipov has tried this on 12 PTSD patients with success while an Army doctor, Lt. Col. Sean Mulvaney, replicated those same results with 15 PTSD patients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
But a full scale clinical trial costs money and the DOD (Department of Defense) has not agreed to fund his research. An extensive report on this idea was recently discussed in the attached article. This country owes our veterans to give this research a try and not wait decades as veterans suffer the effects of PTSD.