Gregory Davenport, DHSc, MPAS
Various medications and techniques are used to treat headaches in clinical settings. Many involve invasive methods of administration via intravenous medications or local anesthetic injections for nerve blocks to relieve pain quickly. Less invasive routes involving oral medications take longer for relief while invasive routes involving intravenous access are not ideal for outpatient clinical settings. Sphenopalatine ganglion is a peripheral nerve located in the posterior nasopharynx at the middle turbinates. By topically applying a local anesthetic to this region, the mucous membranes become saturated, and a peripheral nerve block can be achieved without invasive interventions. Onset to pain relief can occur within two minutes, making it ideal for settings involving rapid turnaround time for patient care. Several techniques and devices currently exist to aid providers in this challenging nerve block, and all current studies show improvement in headaches when compared to placebos. Recent studies show that sphenopalatine ganglion blocks have clinical applications; however, more studies are needed to understand how to advance further the effective use of the sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block to compete with its more invasive competitors.
McCarthy D. Treatment of Primary Headaches with Sphenopalatine Nerve Block. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2023; 5(1).
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