What is Long COVID?
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing health crisis that has taken and affected lives worldwide. For some, contracting COVID-19 results in mild cold-like symptoms lasting a few days to a week, but for an ever-increasing number of people, the physical effects of COVID-19 can extend to weeks or months beyond their initial onset of symptoms. The persistence and ongoing COVID-19 symptoms well beyond an individual’s initial infection is known as “Long COVID.” Long COVID symptoms can include fatigue, elevated resting heart rate, shortness of breath, brain fog, sleep disturbance, anosmia (partial or full loss of smell), dysgeusia (taste disorder), gastrointestinal symptoms, and anxiety (Liu et al., 2021). Although there is still much to be learned about Long COVID symptoms and potential treatments, this one modality has begun and has produced positive results.
Stellate Ganglion Blocks
A stellate ganglion block is a procedure which involves an injection of a solution of long-acting local anesthetic and steroid into the side of your neck where the cervical sympathetic chain of nerves are located. The stellate ganglion block works by blocking activity of the entire cervical sympathetic chain, which allows the body to “restart” the autonomic nervous system and provide improved blood flow to the affected areas.
What to Expect
The procedure only takes about 10 minutes, and you can begin to experience immediate results. Although the length of relief can vary per individual, case studies have shown individuals affected by Long COVID treated with a stellate ganglion block continued to experience symptom relief at their 60-day follow-up post procedure (Liu et al., 2021). Stellate ganglion block procedures can also be repeated, in order to provide even longer or permanent relief.
For more information regarding stellate ganglion blocks and treatment for Long COVID symptoms, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert providers here. At Pain Specialty Group, we are always here to help you in any way we can.
- Liu, Luke D, and Deborah L Duricka. “Stellate ganglion block reduces symptoms of Long COVID: A case series.” Journal of neuroimmunology vol. 362 (2022): 577784. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2021.577784