Posted on Jun 25, 2019
CPT Tracy St.Onge-Lamie
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Has anyone ever tried SPG blocks (Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks) for chronic pain, anxiety, depression or PTSD? I recently learned about this procedure on “60 minutes” as well as a friend informing me about this procedure. I’ve suffered from chronic pain/PTSD related to service connected injuries (multiple neck/back injuries & surgeries) & I am desperate for any sort of relief after trying everything under the sun. I am curious if there are others out there who have heard of this & tried this?
Posted in these groups: Screen_shot_2015-03-15_at_2.13.20_pm PTSD
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PO3 Phyllis Maynard
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CPT Tracy St.Onge-Lamie I have not heard of it. But I think it would be a good idea to run it by your VA primary care provider and ask if there is any information on this treatment.
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CPT Counterintelligence
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Tracy, with the recent new regualtions regarding VA healthcare allowing Veterans to seek Community Care as of June 6th, if the VA says your pursuit of these treatment methods are not covered by them at a VA facility because they are considered "experimental", then I would recommend pursuing Community Care option with a specialist. Be advised that any prescriptions may still go through the VA and the pharmacy at the VA could still deny to issue the medicine even though a Community Care civilian doctor authorized it. I am facing this issue now for my TBI... my Community Care civilian neurologist that the VA referred me to (since the VA hospital doesn't have a neurologist) has prescribed me Aimovig and Cambia for my chronic headaches related to my TBI. The pharmacist at the VA refused to issue the medicines unless I agreed to take 3 injections of Botox first! The neurologist as a primary care provider has now filed a complaint against the pharmacist at the VA for interferring with patient treatment. So, I wanted to give you advanced warning that you might face similar issues in your attempt to seek a logical and effective treatment plan. Another piece of advice is to look at the formulary plan to determine if the medicines are covered by the VA. Best of luck and thank you for your service!
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CPT Tracy St.Onge-Lamie
CPT Tracy St.Onge-Lamie
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Thank for your service as well :) Thank you for the heads-up about the VA interfering with the civilian providers regarding medications & treatments. I’m concerned that this Mission Act is going to be more red tape & longer waiting periods despite what the VA claims. I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time getting the proper care. Fortunately, it sounds like your civilian neurologist has got your six and will advocate for you. I wish you the best of luck with managing your TBI & chronic headaches. I know what you mean about having to jump through unnecessary hoops just so the VA can try to force treatments on you. Under my husband’s private insurance, I’ve got an excellent civilian PCP & now have an awesome civilian neurosurgeon that are ordering the right tests to figure out what is wrong with me since I had a high impact fall directly onto my head causing a major concussion & fractured my cervical spine at C1 in two places. Fortunately, I didn’t require surgery or end up paralyzed breathing through a straw. I’ve just had endure wearing a horrible neck & back brace for over 4 months & having to suck it up because apparently doctors don’t think a broken neck causes pain...grrr! Last year, I was enrolled with the VAMC pain clinic - all of the providers have drank the cool-aid & want their patients to be off of ALL pain medications & seem to think yoga or acupuncture will reduce my pain. It’s extremely frustrating when you’re dealing with chronic pain & suffering 24/7. However, I was satisfied with the clinic’s pain pharmacist - she has been helpful & open to trying different medications. She’s even ordered RX that are non-formulary (Lyrica, diclofenac 3% gel.) I’m just trying to find the right balance between the VA & private insurance/civilian providers since the VA still doesn’t have all of my conditions up to date in their system despite submitting new claims & documentation. It’s a long road & battle, but it’s worth it in the end.
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CPT Counterintelligence
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CPT Tracy St.Onge-Lamie Wow! You are definitely very lucky. I know how the VA is in terms of pain meds... they used to push narcotics on me all the time and I refused - 1.) because I don't like them, and 2.) because I spent most of my career as a Special Agent and couldn't be on narcotics and try to be on call 24x7 (even when off duty). Now the VA is risk aversive because of the opioid epidemic. You're smart by using your husband's insurance to seek out civilian medical providers... just be sure to scan and save all medical records and provide all relevant ones to your VA medical provider to add to your records - or to rebut any comments you disagree with by the VA that are contradictory to your claims. I would also offer the assistance of a VA Disability Attorney if you are filing for a claim and have been denied. I did this, and even though I had all my documentation establishing proof of injuries, exposures and treatments by the Army, I was still denied and had to appeal through the assistance of a VA Disability Attorney. I won my case in 2018 and received a back-dated award on my benefits to 2011. Keep up the good fight and best of luck to you and your husband as you continue your mission to pursue your life's goals and dreams despite your injuries!
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SFC Michael D.
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Very interested. Is it a surgery? Injection?
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1st Lt Padre Dave Poedel
1st Lt Padre Dave Poedel
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An injection under fluoroscopy to guide where the needle is placed, and then I am guessing that they will inject it....perhaps with lidocaine and maybe a corticosteroid. I have had a Kazillion shots like this for my back pain, as well as radio frequency ablations, where they"burn" the nerves to kill some of the pain. They will grow back, but I have received considerable relief from them.
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