While the effects of Covid are generally well-understood, the long-term ramifications of the viral infection are less well-understood. Recently, there has been an increase in attention on “Long Covid,” or the lasting symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Long Covid is a term used to describe symptoms that remain for several weeks after the initial infection has been contracted.
Novel coronavirus causes a variety of symptoms, including loss of smell and taste. This loss of smell, known as anosmia, and a distorted sense of smell, known as parosmia, are both typical COVID-19 symptoms. There are a few suggested mechanisms that could be responsible for this loss or distortion of smell. One is that the virus The virus is believed to destroy the olfactory receptors, which are important for smelling. Another is reduction of blood flow to these receptors. A final possibility is a regulation problem of the sympathetic nervous system. Although the precise mechanisms by which the virus causes these symptoms are not yet entirely understood. Due to the impairment of these receptors, the ability to smell is lost. In addition, the virus may harm the taste buds, resulting in an altered sensation of taste.
Despite the fact that these symptoms are usually mild and resolve on their own within a few weeks, they can be disturbing for people who encounter them. Recent research suggests that this is the result of an autonomic nervous system imbalance (ANS).
Although there is no cure for Long Covid, there are treatments that can lessen its symptoms. Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is one such treatment.
What is a Stellate Ganglion?
The stellate ganglion is a collection of nerve cells found in the neck thoracic area of the spinal cord. The function of this ganglion is to transfer nerve impulses to and from the brain. Additionally, the stellate ganglion regulates blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, this ganglion contributes to the immunological and endocrine systems. The stellate ganglion is a relay station of the positioned near the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the “fight or flight” reaction. The stellate ganglion is hence commonly referred to as the “stress center” of the body.
Under stress, the brain transmits messages to the sympathetic nervous system, which then activates the stellate ganglion. This causes a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as the production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This response might be advantageous in certain circumstances, but prolonged stress can result in health issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The COVID virus may create an imbalance in the regulation of this system. It is one reason that we suspect to be responsible for anosmia or parosmia that occurs during long covid syndrome.
How Does Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) Work?
Stellate ganglion block (SGB) is a type of injection used to treat an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. disorders. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates involuntary bodily activities like blood pressure, and heart rate, pupil size, sweating, and many other bodily functions.. An SGB can be utilized to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and increase blood flow. Typically, the injection is administered in the neck or shoulder region. There are a variety of methods for administering the injection, and the physician will select the most appropriate strategy based on the individual ailment being treated. For safety reasons, it is often best to use live ultrasound guidance instead of x-ray guidance to be able to see and avoid several major blood vessels and nerves that reside in your neck.
SGB For Long Covid
By decreasing the activity of the sympathetic autonomic nerve system, an SGB can lessen or completely eliminate the symptoms of Long Covid. By temporarily inhibiting these nerves, the ANS, notably the sympathetic nervous system, can be reset and its dysregulation corrected. This can help reduce weariness, shortness of breath, and heart rate variability, which are all common symptoms of prolonged covid. In addition, an SGB can aid in the reduction of worry and stress, two additional elements that can contribute to the persistence of covid symptoms. Consequently, an SGB can be a helpful method of treating the symptoms of Long Covid including anosmia and parosmia..
At Southwest SW Pain Management (SPM), we offer SGB for Long Covid and other effective pain management treatments to our patients. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you are suffering from Long Covid so we can help you resume your life.