Landmark Study Highlights Promising PTSD Treatment

Jan 29, 2020

A clinical trial of active-duty military members showed for the first time that a known pain treatment can also be effectively used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stellate ganglion block, or SGB, is a treatment that anesthetizes a bundle of nerves in the neck with an injection. SGB has been used for decades to treat pain symptoms, but this landmark study from RTI International demonstrates that the injections can also be used for those with PTSD. The eight-week trial showed a clinically significant reduction in symptoms, although it did not study why the treatment works.

An image showing the bundle of nerves that SGB targets.
Credit Courtesy of Kristine Rae Olmsted

Kristine Rae Olmsted, a behavioral epidemiologist at RTI International and one of the study’s primary investigators, shares the details with host Frank Stasio. She covers the history of SGB, talks about the link between pain and PTSD and explores future avenues of study.