CLEVELAND, Ohio (KFOR/Storyful) – Desperate to restore her sense of smell and taste which were lost after a Covid-19 diagnosis two years prior, Jennifer Henderson sought help at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. After an injection for pain management, Henderson cried as she could immediately smell a cup of coffee.
During the two years without smell and altered taste, Henderson, an Ohio resident, had tried acupuncture and other holistic remedies, but nothing worked.
Henderson said bananas tasted metallic and garlic tasted like gasoline. “Most food tasted like garbage, and I couldn’t smell anything,” she said.
Video at the top of this story shows the moment Henderson was able to smell again, thanks to a stellate ganglion block (SGB.)
The Cleveland Clinic explains: “SGB is an injection of local anesthetic medication into the stellate ganglion, a bundle of nerves of the sympathetic nervous system located on both sides of the neck… There have been several hypotheses proposed regarding the mechanism of SGB on long COVID symptoms, which include augmentation of blood flow to the brain and interruption of the sympathetic nervous system’s contribution to long COVID symptoms.”
With the use of ultrasound technology, doctors carefully place the needle on the bundle of nerves in the neck, then deliver the injection of local anesthetic medication.
“Patients respond differently and some don’t at all. But for many, the effects seem to be long-lasting and life-changing,” said Dr. Jijun Xu.
Moments after her first treatment, Henderson could smell again.
Henderson has received two treatments since the initial injection, which have continued to improve her symptoms. “I’m just so happy to have my life back,” she said.