7 Ways To Take Care of Yourself or Others Before and After SGB
The following article refers to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), whereas at Stella, we use the term PTSI (Post-Traumatic Stress Injury). We encourage you to adopt this language to break the stigma against Post-Traumatic Stress. Read more about the shift from PTSD to PSTI here.
Are you in the process of scheduling your Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) or do you already have a treatment time on the books? While SGB is only a 20-minute procedure, Stella is committed to you before, during, and after treatment.
Below are 7 ways to take care of yourself or someone you care about before and after SGB.
#1: Make a Plan
Clear your schedule for the day of and day after your SGB. Plan to take off work and organize a support system to temporarily manage your responsibilities (child care, errands, household chores, etc.).
Pick a close family member or friend to accompany you to your SGB treatment. Think of them as your healing companion – someone who will support and care for you on the day of your SGB.
If you plan on updating your close friends and family about your treatment, we suggest that you set communication expectations with them beforehand. Explain that you will share a quick update immediately after your SGB procedure followed by more details the next day. This can help you “unplug” and focus on resting.
Take a long nap after you leave the Stella treatment location. Sleep allows your body to heal and feel calm. Many patients find it helpful to turn off their cell phones while resting.
#3: Eat and Hydrate
Plan a good meal with your healing companion so you can have an enjoyable and stress-free experience.
- Before you eat or drink, ensure that you can swallow normally. Nearly half of the people Stella treats experience hoarseness or trouble swallowing that resolves within 24 hours of the procedure.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol. In the 12-24 hours after your procedure, your body and brain will “re-establish” their connection. Psychoactive substances influence the sympathetic nervous system and can interfere with this process.
#4: Listen to Your Body
Some people feel energized after SGB, and others feel tired. Both reactions are normal!
If the mood strikes, you can take a walk or do light exercise. However, you should wait 24 hours before doing intense exercise. You can resume normal activities two days after your treatment.
#5: Note Changes in Your Symptoms
You may not feel a difference in your symptoms at first but those close to you might notice changes in your behavior. Ask a trusted family member or friend to take inventory of how you’ve changed and have them share their observations with you. You may need to encounter stressful situations before realizing that your response to them is different.
#6: Create New, Healthy Habits
Make mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and/or regular exercise part of your daily life. These activities can keep your brain and body working in harmony.
The desire to smoke, drink, and/or use other substances may change after SGB. Some people that Stella treats report decreased interest in or need to use substances. For many, this change can make it easier to examine substance use habits.
#7: Partner With a Mental Health Provider
After SGB, people feel a new sense of calm that can accelerate the positive impact of existing therapies (e.g., talk therapy, EMDR, CBT, DBT, etc.). If you already have a mental healthcare provider, we suggest that you continue working with them to further your healing.
If you do not have a mental healthcare provider, Stella may be able to refer you to one. Contact your Patient Care Coordinator for more information.