New York: People suffering from chronic migraine may soon heave a sigh of relief as researchers have found promise in a minimally invasive innovative treatment.
Administering the common anaesthetic lidocaine via the nose to certain nerves associated with migraines offers chronic migraine sufferers sustained relief from their headaches, the findings showed.
Although not a complete cure for migraines, the treatment called image-guided, intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) blocks give patients relief, the researchers said.
"Intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are image-guide, targeted, breakthrough treatments," said lead researcher Kenneth Mandato from Albany Medical Center in New York.
"They offer a patient-centered therapy that has the potential to break the migraine cycle and quickly improve patients' quality of life," Mandato said.
The researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 112 patients suffering migraine or cluster headaches.
Patients reported the severity of their headaches on a visual analogue scale (VAS), ranging from 1 to 10 to quantify the degree of debilitation experienced from migraine.
Researchers administered four percent lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion, a nerve bundle just behind the nose associated with migraines.
Before treatment, patients reported an average VAS score of 8.25, with scores greater than four at least 15 days per month.
The day after SPG block patients' VAS scores were cut in half, to an average of 4.10.
Thirty days after the procedure, patients reported an average score of 5.25, a 36 percent decrease from pretreatment. Additionally, 88 percent patients indicated that they required less or no migraine medication for ongoing relief.
"Administration of lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion acts as a 'reset button' for the brain's migraine circuitry," Mandato said.
Patients can have SPG block repeated, if needed, Mandato added.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the ongoing Society of Interventional Radiology's 40th Annual Scientific Meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.