Veteran gets effective PTSD relief through injections

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:25 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A veteran in Wausau is trying out a new procedure to help his PTSD. It’s bridging the gap between the mental symptoms and how it affects his body.

The procedure involves injections into nerves in the neck to deal with the physical stress of PTSD.

So far, he says it’s reduced his anxiety levels to a third of what they were.

Quincy Kasper said the relief he experienced was almost immediate.

For years, he’s suffered from complex PTSD resulting from experiences in childhood, as a firefighter-EMT and in the Iraq war.

“You’re driving down the road for example. I was a truck driver in Iraq. So, driving down the road here, stateside, you see a bag of trash in the road. No big deal to you. To me, that’s a bomb,” Kasper said.

Because of his medical experience, he keeps abreast of the latest treatments, and when he heard about this one, he brought it up with his doctor.

Injections called a stellate ganglion block are helping keep his sense of panic at bay.

“There’s something called the sympathetic nervous system, which is your fight-or-flight response, so when people are in very stressful situations, it can get stuck in overdrive,” said Dr. Kris Ferguson of Aspirus.

Dr. Ferguson was already treating Kasper for pain at Aspirus in Antigo.

He says he’s used the blockers for that, and some research showed him it could help Kasper.

“It’s just a new application of an older procedure,” Dr. Ferguson said.

Dr. Ferguson says it’s not a cure-all and needs to be used in conjunction with other therapies, but if conventional methods aren’t doing the trick, this can help.

“By blocking that fight-or-flight response, it resets the system, almost like you’d re-set a computer and lets it function a bit more normally,” Dr. Ferguson said.

Kasper is an advocate for veterans with PTSD. He says identifying the ways the mind and body are connected can help so many more who are ashamed to seek help.

“The only way we’re going to be able to continue to help people and continue to move forward with this is to be talking about it. Because, again, mental health has such a stigma,” Kasper said.

The treatment is covered for veterans by the V.A.