SAN DIEGO — After seeing promising results with an innovative treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, a group of Navy doctors in San Diego hopes a new study will show a shot in the neck that quiets nerves could bring quick, lasting relief to suffering combat vets.
In a pilot study at Naval Medical Center San Diego, 42 active-duty service members will get injections to block or turn off nerves from transmitting triggers that can cause anxiety, hyperarousal or other symptoms of PTSD. Such nerve blocks, much like basic pain management treatments first done in 1925, typically bring relief in a few days, if not several hours, and in the weeks or months after the procedure.
The study, funded by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, uses a stellate ganglion block, or SGB. The treatment involves injecting an anesthetic into the stellate ganglion — a bundle of nerves in the neck — which blocks pain signals in the sympathetic nerve system from reaching the brain.
The study team hopes to present its findings in May at an American Psychiatric Association meeting and ultimately get more funding for continuing research and larger clinical studies. An article Hickey co-wrote about the effects of SGB treatment on eight combat vets will be in the February issue of Military Medicine, the Journal of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.
Once again, it's a money problem.
That ease and fast relief appealed to Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Christopher Carlson, who retired in 2010 after multiple deployments in a 20-year career that included at-sea tours. Carlson said he subsequently was diagnosed with PTSD after getting worsening bouts of cold sweats, disrupted sleep, anxiety and severe nightmares “that seemed almost real.”
He was prescribed medications, “but really nothing seemed to be working,” he said, and his struggles sidetracked him from getting good employment after he retired in Norfolk, Va., and moved to Chicago. He drank more, was depressed and got more forgetful; he and his wife, who have four children, divorced.
On a fluke, someone told him about Lipov’s treatment. Desperate for relief, he volunteered.
“It seemed like it was a miracle cure,” he said. “It changed my life.”
After his initial improvement seemed to wane a few months after the first injection, Carlson got a second treatment and noticed “night and day” changes.
“My mind is a lot clearer, and I’m sleeping better,” he said Dec. 14. “My emotions are a lot better.”
Note to the Pentagon, President Obama, Congress, everybody who can write a fucking check on OUR money: This shit looks like it works. May is a long way off, the process after that a lot longer. Get out in front of this and fund the study of this treatment NOW, with lots and lots of clinical trials on Vets, ya cheap pricks. Time is important to these Vets. Every addiction or suicide or divorce that doesn't happen is a helluva lot better than those that do.