At the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, a new treatment for migraines used for adults may be proven safe for children. This procedure is minimally invasive and does not take much time for relief to come. The procedure uses a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block on the patient. Researchers from the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, AZ presented the paper to the meeting recently.
A migraine is a headache disorder that is recurrent with pain that varies from moderate to severe. According to the CDC, migraines are often “painful, disabling, and [have] recurring symptom,” with no “known cause, treatment, or cure.” They usually affect one side of the head, and the pain can feel like a pulsing. Migraines can last anywhere from two to 72 hours. Known associated symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. Physical activity only worsens a migraine. Some migraineurs can have an aura before a migraine. An aura is a type of visual disturbance signaling the migraine’s eventual arrival.
The SPG block does not involve needles, according to the press release from the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR). Small and flexible catheters are inserted into the patient’s nostrils, and a “local anesthetic is administered.” The SPG is a “nerve bundle thought to be associated with migraines,” and is found near the back of the nose. The treatment disables the SPG temporarily and “can disrupt and reset the headache circuit,” which breaks the migraine cycle and medication need. The migraine treatment takes effect immediately with the patient feeling relief. The researchers say that treatment may last for “months.”
But not all children are qualified to receive the migraine treatment. According to the press release, only those children who did not respond to first-line treatments are eligible. First-line treatments include over the counter medications including acetaminophen, aspirin, NSAIDs, or triptans. The treatment is done on an outpatient basis by a radiologist. Robin Kaye, MD co-author of the study and section chief of interventional radiology at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said that reducing the need for medications, children may not have to “miss as much school and can get back to being a kid sooner.”
Dr. Kaye’s team treated 200 patients up to 300 hundred times and ranged in age from seven to 18. The team recorded the pain level before the treatment and after comparing the pain levels. There was a “significant decrease” in pain levels. The researchers admit that it is not a “cure for migraines” the treatment can improve the children’s quality of life and can be “performed easily,” with no side effects and fast pain relief.
By Cheryl Werber