Scientists at Albany Medical Center said they have development an innovative treatment that offers patients of chronic migraine an extended relief from excruciating headaches.
Clinicians insert a catheter the size of spaghetti through the patient’s nasal passages to administer lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion – the nerve formation behind the nose typically associated with migraines. During this procedure, no needles actually touch the patient.
Although not a complete cure for migraines, the treatment called image-guided, intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) blocks give patients relief, the researchers said.
“When the initial numbing of the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did,” said Dr. Kenneth Mandato, the study’s lead researcher at Albany Medical Center.
With this procedure procedure, 88% of patients reported that they needed less or no migraine medication to provide additional pain relief.
Scientists conducted a retrospective analysis of 112 patients suffering migraine or cluster headaches.
Patients reported the severity of their headaches on a visual analogue scale (VAS), ranging from 1 to 10 to quantify the degree of debilitation experienced from migraine.
Before treatment, patients reported an average VAS score of 8.25, with scores greater than four at least 15 days per month.
The findings are published in Society of Interventional Radiology’s 40th Annual Scientific Meeting.