Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) Block for Headache Relief

Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) block has been shown to help provide migraine headache relief for both children and adults. A small flexible catheter is inserted into each nostril and a local anesthetic is administered to the SPG, a nerve bundle thought to be associated with migraines, located at the back of the nose.  The anesthetic briefly disables the SPG and can disrupt and reset the headache circuit, which can break a cycle of severe migraines. A SPG block takes almost immediate effect with relief potentially lasting for many months.

The SPG blocks have been performed in children. A child qualifies for the treatment if he/she has been diagnosed with a severe migraine and that migraine has not responded favorably to first-line medications and treatments.

This form of treatment can be performed in an outpatient setting by an interventional radiologist. It can reduce the need to take medications that come with side effects or other therapies that may require hospital stays. Researchers conducted 310 treatments in 200 patients ages 7 to 18 at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The children had their pain levels recorded before the intervention on a scale of 1-10. Ten minutes after the SPG block, each child was asked to compare their pain level, using the same scale. The researchers saw a statistically significant decrease pain levels, with an average pain score reduction of more than 2 points on the 10-point scale.

An SPG block can be easily and quickly performed and does not have any known complications. This can help children feel pain free and lead healthy, happy, and productive lives. If a migraine cycle returns, another SPG block can be performed.

Reference

Society of Interventional Radiology. Innovative treatment offers relief to children with frequent migraine headaches. March 5, 2017. https://www.sirweb.org/advocacy-and-outreach/media/news-release-archive/news-release-migraine_spg_treatment/

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