One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is a loss of taste and/or smell. While oftentimes once your body has recovered from COVID your taste and smell will return to normal, many people are reporting either a terrible smell or taste (parosmia) or no smell or taste at all as part of suffering from long COVID symptoms.
Nearly 5% of confirmed COVID cases report suffering from this loss of smell and taste, even after COVID-19 recovery. This lack of smell and/or taste can be scary, with millions of people unsure if and when their senses will go back to normal. Long-lasting smell and/or taste can significantly lower your quality of life, as you are no longer able to enjoy your senses to the fullest.
However, stellate ganglion block (SGB) treatment provides those suffering from loss of taste and smell from COVID the chance to recover their senses to get back to living a normal life. In this article, you’ll learn more about how COVID-19 patients can lose their taste and smell. Then, you’ll learn how SGB treatment for long covid can help recover your senses.
What is Long COVID
Long COVID is when you experience persistent COVID side effects that linger weeks, months, and potentially years after your initial COVID diagnosis. Because COVID is new, at this time, there’s little known research or specific “cure” as to how to treat long COVID symptoms. That being said, there is an array of anecdotal evidence that supports effective ways in which one can treat certain long COVID symptoms like loss of taste and smell.
Long COVID can occur in both mild and severe cases of infection. Symptoms of your initial diagnosis tend to linger, and new symptoms can develop over time. Even though there is no known treatment for long COVID, there are ways to recover from certain symptoms like a loss of taste and smell.
While it is can be extremely discouraging and frustrating to have to adjust your life to manage your long COVID symptoms, this doesn’t mean you have to live a lower quality of life forever. Various promising long COVID treatments, like SGB treatment, show mounting positive evidence that supports this treatment can help regain your loss of taste and smell from COVID.
Loss of Taste and Smell and COVID
A complete loss of taste and/or smell is a common symptom for COVID-19 patients; however, millions of people with long COVID are still experiencing that same loss in their senses. This bizarre phenomenon can be both scary and overwhelming.
Olfactory retraining provides a potential solution to regain your loss of taste and smell following COVID. This involves exposing your senses to extremely strong flavors and/or scents to regain your senses. In time, exposing yourself to these strong flavors and scents can potentially help bring back your senses. However, if this form of retraining your senses doesn’t work, it can leave many confused and unsure of what to do next to improve their senses.
Parosmia and COVID
Similar to a loss of taste and smell following COVID is parosmia, which is experiencing unpleasant or disgusting tastes or smells that don’t correlate to the actual smells or tastes. For instance, coffee could smell disgusting and repulsive if you have parosmia, when you may have even liked the smell of coffee prior to your parosmia.
While parosmia can resolve itself in time, people who experience long-term parosmia can feel frightened and confused about what to do to regain their normal sense of taste and smell.
Some parosmia sufferers can resort to eating simple, bland meals that lack any smell or taste that could trigger the parosmia. Yet, this can greatly reduce your quality of life, and shouldn’t be something you have to do for the rest of your life.
What is SGB Treatment
SGB (stellate ganglion block) treatment provides an effective solution for people who either suffer from parosmia or a general loss of taste or smell as part of lingering long COVID symptoms.
SGB treatment for parosmia involves an injection that blocks the nerves that make up part of the sympathetic nervous system in the head and neck. Oftentimes, this treatment can be used to effectively treat chronic pain in the neck, upper arms, and head by blocking pain signals sent to the brain.
Yet, because of its ability to target the sympathetic nervous system, SGB treatment has been found to provide effective restoration of a loss of smell and taste due to COVID as well as reduce parosmia symptoms from COVID.
What to Expect During an SGB Treatment
If you choose to undergo SGB treatment, the physician will first cleanse and anesthetize the skin at the expected injection site. Then, a small needle with the SGB medication will be administered. This entire process only takes about 15 minutes and many anecdotal cases claim they experience near-immediate recovery of their senses following the SGB treatment. Or, within a few days, they start to regain improvements to their taste and smell.
How SGB Treatment Can Help Loss of Taste and Smell
If you are struggling with a loss of taste and smell or have parosmia from COVID, consider an SGB treatment. Since COVID is new, little research has been done to understand the details that make up this illness, such as cases of long COVID symptoms like parosmia or loss of taste and smell.
While many long COVID sufferers eventually regain their normal sense of taste and smell in time, some people many months after first getting COVID are still noticing problems with their taste and smell. This can leave those still suffering from these symptoms overwhelmed and frightened that they may never regain their senses back to normal.
The sympathetic nervous system plays a critical role in regaining your normal sense of taste and smell. Your sympathetic nervous system’s role is to respond to dangerous, life-threatening situations in order to help you survive. Various physiological responses like increased heart rate, delivering more blood to your body that needs oxygen, and more are just responses of how the body reacts to surviving in seemingly dangerous situations.
Therefore, SGB treatment can help block part of the sympathetic nervous system within the head and neck that may be experiencing increased activity due to COVID. Thus, by lowering the sympathetic nervous system’s activity, the goal is to reduce or entirely eliminate symptoms, using the stellate ganglion block covid smell and stellate ganglion block covid taste to regain your normal senses.
Where Can You Get Stellate Ganglion Block for Taste and Smell
If you are struggling with long COVID symptoms like parosmia or a loss of taste and smell, you don’t have to suffer from these symptoms alone. As discussed, SGB treatment has vast anecdotal evidence supporting how it can effectively be used to regain your normal sense of smell and taste from COVID.
An utter lack of smell and taste can significantly lower your quality of life. No longer are you able to enjoy your favorite foods and smells you loved prior to contracting COVID. This can be overwhelming and deeply upsetting for many to grapple with. However, if you notice you are experiencing long-term loss of taste and smell, treatment long COVID is essential. Seek treatment immediately to regain your senses and get back to living your normal life.
At the Pain and Spine Specialists, we offer innovative care solutions to help you live a happier, healthier life. While our center does specialize in chronic pain management care, Dr. Rao and our team of advanced pain specialists are here to help improve your quality of life. This includes helping you regain your normal taste and smell from COVID. Our stellate ganglion block injections can help you recover from these long COVID symptoms for good, so you can live a normal, healthy life. Contact us today so we can help you recover from your loss of taste and smell.
At this time, it is not fully understood why some people who contract COVID experience long COVID symptoms, while others do not.
However, researchers have noticed some key risk factors that may increase your chances of experiencing long COVID. These risk factors include:
• Being female
• Older age
• Severe COVID symptoms upon onset of illness
• Not being fully vaccinated
• Preexisting health conditions like diabetes, lung problems, autoimmune diseases, obesity
Yes. There are some natural solutions you can try to help regain your loss of smell and taste. Olfactory retraining involves exposing your senses to strongly scented or flavored foods in an attempt to retrain your senses to notice these strong foods and odors.
Some examples of powerful smells and flavors individuals have tried to regain their taste and smell include using ginger, peppermint, peanut butter, and strong essential oils.
SGB treatment isn’t just a treatment used to help regain your loss of taste and smell. The primary function of the treatment is used to treat chronic pain in the neck, upper arms, and head by blocking nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. Is also has shown to be effective in treating PTSD.