Quit Smoking with the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB)
Smoking is a habit that many wish to quit. Unfortunately, smoking is addictive due to the chemicals (mainly nicotine) within cigarettes and tobacco products. This makes it extremely hard to quit without additional help.
Although some people are able to use only their willpower to quit smoking, this is a tough route to take. There are many different ways and treatments that smokers might want to explore when they want help with quitting, and the stellate ganglion block (SGB) is one that does seem to have many benefits.
What is the Stellate Ganglion Block?
Simply put, the stellate ganglion block (SGB) is a local anesthetic that is injected into the stellate ganglion, which is a group of nerves situated in the neck area. The stellate ganglion is essentially the area that is responsible for starting the ‘fight or flight’ response within humans, and flooding the body with hormones that increase stress.
Often the SGB is used to treat people suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, but it can also be used to treat chronic pain (this is, in fact, how it was first designed) and to help people quit smoking.
Nicotine and the Stellate Ganglion
Nicotine from tobacco directly affects the stellate ganglion nerve bundle. When you smoke, these nerves send messages to the brain that relate to the idea of reward. Basically, it makes you feel good to smoke due to the nicotine and its effect on the nerves in your body.
This is one of the reasons it is so addictive and why it is so hard to quit. No one wants to stop doing something that feels good, even when they know it could be negatively affecting their health. Not only does the stellate ganglion tell the brain you are receiving a reward, but it is also responsible for cravings, habits, and urges — you can see why smoking is a difficult habit to quit.
The SGB for Quitting Smoking
The SGB injection is delivered directly to the stellate ganglion, the nerves that cause such a problem when you want to quit smoking. The nerves are effectively numbed by the injection, and this will reduce how well they work—– and this is a good thing. The less these nerves work, the easier it is to quit smoking as the reward sensation will be greatly reduced, and so will the cravings you would normally feel when trying to put the cigarettes away for good.
Many smokers who undergo the SGB find that they lose the desire to smoke altogether. Thanks to not having cravings and no longer ‘enjoying’ the cigarettes, they are able to stop smoking. Knowing how damaging the act of smoking is combined with the SGB will enable you to never pick up a cigarette again.
You might wonder whether you will need to continue to have the SGB procedure for life if you no longer want to smoke, but that’s not the case. You may need a small number of procedures, but eventually you will have been a non-smoker for long enough that even without the procedure, you will not want to smoke again.