What Are Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks?

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What Are Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks?

Nerve blocks are one type of treatment for chronic pain conditions. Depending on the specific pain and region of the body, your doctor can help you determine what type of nerve block is right for you.

What are sphenopalatine ganglion blocks?

Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are used specifically for headaches, such as migraines and cluster headaches, atypical facial pain, and neuralgias of the face. Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks target a cluster of nerves located just below the nose. These nerves tie into our sympathetic and sensory nervous systems.

This is a minimally invasive treatment that allows the specialist to inject anesthetic and other medications directly into the nerves. This can be done directly to the nasal cavity or with a very small dental needle.

Patients will typically begin to feel relief within 30 minutes of the treatment. Most patients experience long-term relief of frustrating facial pain or headaches. There are minimal risks with this treatment but patients should always discuss the possibilities with their physician before undergoing a sphenopalatine ganglion block.

If pain does not subside after the first treatment, doctors may perform subsequent treatments to achieve relief from head or facial pain. This treatment has been most effective for patients who have had adverse reactions to medications or for whom medications did not provide an adequate amount of relief.

Because cluster headaches and migraines can be difficult to treat with other conventional methods, sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are a non-invasive alternative to more drastic treatments. Cluster headaches, for instance, are not triggered by food or stress so it is difficult to determine and eliminate their trigger. This type of procedure can provide relief.

If you are experiencing migraines, cluster headaches, or other atypical facial pain you may wish to speak with your pain specialist about the possibility of using sphenogalatine ganglion blocks in your treatment plan.

Has your quality of life been adversely affected by severe headaches?

Image by Stephen Boisvert via Flickr

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About the Author:

Nevada Pain
At Nevada Pain we believe that patient knowledge is a key component of any comprehensive treatment plan. It's one of our core guiding principles. By understanding the procedures for acute and chronic pain conditions that we treat, patients can make better informed decisions and choices for their own treatment plans. In our Inside Pain blog, we present accessible tips and tricks to incorporate into your own healthy lifestyle to help you manage and improve your current levels of pain.

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