Treatment of Headaches, Migraines and Head and Facial Pain With Deep Nasal Nerve Block
80% OF SEVERE HEADACHES CAN BE CONTROLLED WITH A SIMPLE BUT UNDERUTILIZED THERAPY FOR PAIN CONTROL
In order to understand headaches and facial pain we must first understand the anatomy of the head, nasal passages and the location of important nerve centers behind our throat.
The Sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) also called the nasal ganglion is the largest group of nerves outside the area of the brain cavity. The SPG is located behind the nose and sinus area and near the throat, and covered by a thin layer of connective tissue and mucous membrane.
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Sphenopalatine ganglion block has been reported to be effective in the relief of a wide variety of pain conditions ranging from headache to lower back pain. However, because many of the medical studies concerning its application were published in the 1930s, the clinical use of this therapeutic procedure, in my opinion, is much underutilized at present.
In this report, we would like to arouse the interest of the modern day practitioners in the use of this nerve block procedure with a slightly modified technique, which makes the practice more acceptable to patients.
The reason these nerves (the SPG) produce pain relief in remote parts of the body is still poorly understood; however, looking at these nerve connections in the head, the SPG plays a crucial role as an important dispatch center of the autonomic nervous system. The SPG receives sensory inputs from other important nerve centers in the body. The nerve fibers coming from the base of the brain pass through another nerve center that directly connects to the SPG and is directly connected to a branch of the facial nerve.
Because the SPG nerve complex is connected, indirectly to cervical roots in the neck at the C2, C3, and C4 levels. Therefore, it would not be unreasonable to postulate that pain from the upper cervical spine (the neck vertebrae) can cause “referred” symptoms into the head and facial area, and vice versa. This might explain why an SPG nerve block would relieve headache, facial pain, pain in the neck and upper back.
The SPG can be blocked by using a topical anesthetic that is applied by using a cotton tip applicator with a hollow handle that is saturated in a solution of 4% Lidocaine mixed with Oxymetazoline HCl 0.05% (more commonly known as Afrin, an over the counter nasal spray). The applicator is passed through the nostrils until it meets the wall of tissue which separates the throat from the nasal passages. The applicator is pushed on to the tissue and the local anesthetic is topically applied through the hollow handle of the applicator into the cotton tip and left in place for about 45-60 minutes, which results in the desired nerve block.
The side effects of SPG nerve block are minimal, but do include allergy to Lidocaine which is rare, irritation to the nose or scratchiness to the throat but these side effects rarely occur when the procedure is performed by an expert. Because this procedure is so safe and easy and because there is great utility and simplicity involved in this therapy, one cannot help but ask why this simple, safe and effective treatment remains underutilized. This much neglected pain therapy is a viable alternative to complex and risky procedures. If this procedure is effective for you, there would be no need to silently suffer in a dark room or to poison your body with toxic medications ever again.