Migraines are one of the most painful chronic conditions to affect both adults and children. Despite the considerable amount of research, the condition remains without a cure and its causes are not entirely understood. The Society of lnterventional Radiology has brought light to an innovative treatment that can reduce the severity of painful episodes instantly and over a long period. Research done in 2015 revealed good efficacy in adults, and now it has been confirmed to work for children and teenagers suffering from migraines as well. Young ones can now enjoy the benefits of the minimally invasive treatment known as sphenopalatine ganglion block (SPG). The treatment promises a substantial life quality improvement.
The SPG procedure consists of the insertion of a small catheter into the nostrils until it reaches the sphenopalatine ganglion, where a local analgesic is administered. The direct action of the analgesic on the ganglion causes a substantial (and instant) pain reduction. The sphenopalatine ganglion is a small cluster of nerves located at the back of the nose. It is believed to be involved in the onset of migraines as well as brain freeze (a type of headache caused by the contact of very cold things such as ice cream with the roof of the mouth). The efficacy of the new procedure lends credibility to the hypothetical role of this ganglion in headache disorders.
Researchers tested the procedure at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, US. Two hundred minor patients received SPG treatment and indicated their subjective pain levels from 1 to 10 before and after administration. It was found that the procedure reduced pain levels by an average of 2 points. The effects of a single administration are immediate and can last for months.
These are promising results for patients desperate for an effective relief method without the complications of drugs. The simplicity of the procedure may also enable adult patients to self-perform it. However, the method is not yet considered a first line of defense against migraines in children.
Those unfortunate who deal with chronic migraines experience a marked degradation of life quality and have to constantly avoid potential triggers. The constant fear and heightened precautions can be stressful in the long run. Conventional drugs – being not effective enough in most cases in the first place – are not without their down sides in the form of side effects and/or potential drug interactions. Therefore, the new SPG treatment comes as a blessing for migraine sufferers and has the right profile to become highly popular as a first line defense against migraines and possibly other headache disorders.