When the average person gets a headache, they reach for a bottle of over the counter pain relievers. For those suffering chronic headaches and migraines, however, the pain can be debilitating. Fortunately, there’s a revolutionary new option, SphenoCath, that’s been shown to be very effective in treating chronic headache and migraine pain.
It has long been known that local anesthetic applied to the sphenopalatine ganglion, a group of nerves found in the sinuses, is an effective way to block certain types of pain. Unfortunately, delivery of the anesthetic has always been problematic because of the location of the nerves. Doctors in the past resorted to injecting the medication through the jaw or corner of the eye. The injection method is not preferred by practitioners or patients, for fairly obvious reasons.
The SpenoCath treatment eliminates the need for needles and delivers the medication directly to the intended target. The SpenoCath is a flexible, spaghetti-sized catheter. The outer sheath is made of a soft, flexible material for comfort.
The catheter can be guided with fluoroscopic imaging, or applied manually through the nostril to the sphenopalatine ganglion, which is located just beneath the tissue at the back of the nose. While some patients report minor discomfort from the insertion, the procedure is mostly painless.
In order for the medication to be most effectively delivered, you will be asked to lie down with your head angled slightly back. The SphenoCath is inserted gently through the nose, while you are monitored by a trained staff member. The procedure takes 2-3 minutes. You will then be asked to remain in a reclining position for another 10-15 minutes, to allow the medication to fully take effect.
Most patients are able to return to normal activities within 20 minutes.
Patients report relief immediately, with the only potential side effects being irritation from the catheter and possible nosebleed. The time the effects last may vary, but some patients report fewer headaches following the procedure. Some doctors theorize that when the block “shuts down” the nerves, it provides a chance to restore normal functioning.