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SPG Block Helps Migraine Sufferers Find Relief

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines affect 38 million Americans and one billion people worldwide including men, women and children. It’s the third most common illness in the world and the sixth most disabling. In fact, every 10 seconds, someone in the United States visits the emergency room for head pain said Dr. David Buck, DDS, a neuromuscular dentist in Washington.

"Migraines are considered chronic when a patient experiences at least 15 a month over the course of three months," he said. "People who don’t suffer from these painful attacks have the tendency to brush them off as just bad headaches with little sympathy for the patient. But, 90 percent of migraine sufferers can’t function at all, let alone work, drive or socialize during a migraine."


Migraines Can Be Debilitating 
The Global Burden of Disease Study looks at which health problems lead to the most years lost due to disability and found migraines to the be the sixth most prominent cause. This shows the enormous burden that is placed on those who suffer from migraines. It can directly impact not only one's health but their way of life and in turn their quality of life. Research shows that among migraine sufferers, rates of anxiety and depression are higher than those who don’t suffer from migraines.

It’s not just the migraine itself that leaves one paralyzed with pain. Often migraines are accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Sensitivity to sound, smell, touch and light
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in the extremities and/or face
  • Visual disturbances called auras

The World Health Organization says that over 20 percent of those suffering from chronic migraines are disabled and that 85 percent of those chronic migraine sufferers are women. This is likely due to hormonal imbalances according to most medical research.

Current Treatments for Migraine Headaches 
According to the World Health Organization, an average of only four hours are dedicated to headache disorders during the typical undergraduate medical program. Due to this minimal training, medical professionals often have to rely on their own continuing education in order to gain the knowledge that is necessary to treat patients effectively.

Often the treatment for migraines is with the use of medications. There are two different types used: pain-relieving and preventative. Pain-relieving medications are used during a migraine attack to alleviate symptoms and stop the pain and discomfort. Preventative medication is usually taken on a daily basis to prevent or reduce the severity and frequency of a migraine.

Alternative therapies are also used for treating migraines. Acupuncture and massage therapy have shown promise for helping with pain associated with headaches and migraines. Researchers continue to study the effectiveness of current therapies and search for new solutions.

Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block
Medications and many other therapies and treatments only last a short time and others don’t work at all until the pain from the migraine has already begun. What if there was a way to treat the migraines before they occurred that lasted for months?

The sphenopalatine ganglion is a group of nerves that are connected to the main nerve that is often responsible for headaches and migraines, said Buck. He and other medical professionals around the nation are opening the door for hope for a new treatment for migraines sufferers with a block of the SPG group of nerves.

"It’s located behind the nose and we’ve had great success in blocking the SPG with the use of anesthetics to relieve pain from headaches and migraines," he said. "The treatment is simple, painless and the best part is it can last up to three months."

 

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