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What Are Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks? | NVCPC.com

What Are Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks?

Nerve blocks are one type of treatment for chronic pain conditions. Depending on the specific pain and region of the body, your doctor can help you determine what type of nerve block is right for you. Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks may be a great option for managing your pain. Here’s what you should know.

What are sphenopalatine ganglion blocks?

Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks can help manage head pain conditions, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Cluster headaches
  • Atypical facial pain
  • Neuralgias of the face

Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks target a cluster of nerves located just below the nose. These nerves tie into our sympathetic and sensory nervous systems.

This is a minimally invasive treatment that allows the specialist to inject anesthetic and other medications directly into the nerves. This can be done directly to the nasal cavity or with a very small dental needle.

Patients will typically begin to feel relief within 30 minutes of the treatment. Most patients experience long-term relief of frustrating facial pain or headaches. There are minimal risks with this treatment. However, always discuss the risks with your physician before undergoing a sphenopalatine ganglion block.

How many do I need? 

If pain does not subside after the first treatment, doctors may perform subsequent treatments to achieve relief from head or facial pain. This treatment has been most effective for patients who have had adverse reactions to medications or for whom medications did not provide an adequate amount of relief.

Because cluster headaches and migraines can be difficult to treat with other conventional methods, sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are a non-invasive alternative to more drastic treatments. Cluster headaches, for instance, are not triggered by food or stress. Because of this, it is difficult to determine and eliminate their trigger. This type of procedure can provide relief.

If you are experiencing migraines, cluster headaches, or other atypical facial pain you may wish to speak with your pain specialist about the possibility of using sphenogalatine ganglion blocks in your treatment plan.

Have severe headaches affected your quality of life?