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Has Anyone Tried An SPG Nerve Block?

  • By Jules2dl

    Yesterday I saw my local neurologist, who has kindly consented to work with my Doctor from Jefferson. He told me about the SPG nerve block, which I’ve never heard of. It makes sense to me, as I’ve read that in cases of deviated septum if the turbinates in the nose swell they aggravate that nerve ganglion and it can cause a migraine.
    Does anyone have any experience with this nasal nerve block?
    Thanking you in advance for your replies,
    Julie

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Julie,

    Good to hear from you! That is great news your local neurologist is willing to work with your doctor at the Jefferson.

    A sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block may provide weeks to months of temporary migraine relief. I’ve had this done and my pain was eliminated but reduced – every little bit helps!

    We have information on this type of block in this article I hope you find helpful; https://migraine.com/blog/facial-pain-explained/.

    Please let us know your results if you have this procedure.

    Nancy

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  • By Jules2dl

    Thanks Nancy, I appreciate the article, it was very informative and alleviated my apprehension about the procedure (which my doc described as “a shot in the nose”, which sounded most unpleasant!).

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  • By littleb15

    Julie,

    Please keep us posted on your SPG Block. If my Botox treatment does not work, I may look into a SPG block next. Wishing you the very best!

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  • By Jules2dl

    @ Bam1970 ~ I haven’t had the SPG block yet; my doctor is still waiting to get the equipment to do it. He should have it in this month. I will definitely keep you informed!
    @ Nancy ~ I keep thinking of this block as a rescue abortive. Is it considered a preventative as well?
    Thanks,
    Julie

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  • By Julia

    Joe’s local neurologist has also suggested the SPG block as a next step if the Botox and other nerve blocks are not effective. I would love to hear of any experiences with it.
    Julia

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  • By Jules2dl

    I still haven’t had the SPG block, but I finally had my 1st
    Botox treatment last Friday.
    I arrived at the office with a migraine and left without one.
    I haven’t had a migraine since, which is amazing as we’ve had a blizzard, several snow showers, and a precipitous drop in temperature since then (and weather is my biggest trigger!)

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  • By 1tbim32

    I’ve been getting the SPG block for about 2 months, and for me the block works for 2 days. It doesn’t totally eliminate headaches, but it definitely reduces the frequency and severity for those 2 days — I get 2 – 6 headaches per day.

    Now we’re doing the SPG block every other day. My doctor taught my husband how to do it, so it is possible to get it done this frequently.

    Good luck.

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    1tbim32,
    I’m glad the SPG blocks are working for you. My doctor actually just discussed it for me and I’ll try it in a few weeks.

    If you’re getting that much relief from it, I thought I’d let you know that there is an SPG neurostimulator in clinical trials. This device is permanently implanted near the SPG nerves. It might be a few more years before it is FDA approved, but you might be a good candidate for it. Here’s some info about it:
    http://www.achenet.org/resources/the_sphenopalatine_ganglion_spg_and_headache_disorders_part_ii/

    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Bhart13

    I have had the SPG block done twice. The 1st time, I was headache free for 3 days. I know..most of you are thinking big deal! I was elated!!! I have had a headache of about a level 5 for 7 years now. I had my 2nd block done 3 months later and I received an entire week of headaches that were down to about a level 2.
    I would continue to get the procedure done,however, my insurance company keeps disapproving the charges based on one reason or another. I don’t get stuck with the bill but I feel sorry for the hospital. The charges are right at $3500 each time and if they have to right off the charges each time all I am doing is raising the cost of health care for everyone else….and that I just don’t feel right about

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Bhart13,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am happy to hear you find relief from SPG blocks.

    You may want to start the appeal process with your insurance company and see if they will cover some or all of the procedure. I understand your concerns about health care costs, but you shouldn’t have to suffer when there is a treatment out there that works for you.

    Keep us posted on your progress,

    Nancy

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  • By 1f7qfs8

    I had this done a year ago. Right away I had severe pain on my right side with some vision problems. The doctor said it wasn’t due to the block but I never experienced it before and it happened the second the block was done. A year later and I still have this painful problem to the point I cannot stand my glasses on my nose on that one side. HELP

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  • By noelle_elissa

    I have had the SPG block about eight times now the first few times it worked and then after it a while ti stopped working my body got use to the medicine. It is a very easy procedure the first time they did it i had them put me in twilight but the others times I didn’t i just layed there and talked to the doctors nothing to worry about.

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Funny. I had my first SPG block yesterday. It was an easy procedure. I’m going every 2 weeks for 3 months (in between Botox). I felt an immediate relief, but by evening the pain came back just the same. Maybe more treatments will work later.

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  • By tbrundin

    Here in Sweden this is a rather new thing, and I managed to get an appointment for a three times treatment series; the first one – another one a week later and a third one a month later
    This was done with the Allevio catheter, but I think they all are very similar?

    (the treatment was done at a private head ached clinic, and I heard some doctors and hospitals are a bit cautious to believe in this treatment, since no “official” supporting article has been published in The Lancet or similar paper)

    I suffer from chronic migraine, and I normally take 1 Zomig every day (yes, I know this is WAY to much – but what else can you do to stop the pain?), so this was a wishful thinking/long shot for me to get some kind of relief.

    I cannot say I enjoyed the first treatment (a bit painful and a lot of sneezing – bad taste in my throat and I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat for 30 minutes – because I really couldn’t swallow due to the numbness in my throat, and I didn’t feel ANY kind of relief from this first treatment, so I decided that I wouldn’t do another one.

    Sorry, but this treatment didn’t work for me – I will stay eagerly waiting for the first sign of a CGRP based preventive medication (from AMGEN?) to be approved; hopefully this will emerge in a few years 😉

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  • By AliasMom

    My 14 year old daughter had her first SPG nerve block using the Allevio catheter on Monday (today is Friday). She was in more pain for about 12 hours but by 24 hours after procedure, ALL pain was gone. She has been pain free for 3 days now…longest in over a year.
    She will be having procedure done 1x/week for 5 weeks then longer periods of time between treatments until 10 are completed.
    We are THRILLED as she can now go to school!

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    • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

      @aliasmom,
      That is fantastic news! I hope the continued treatments give her more and more relief. The procedure isn’t fun, but it’s not incredibly painful. It’ll be a pain to get the blocks so often, but it’s worth it if it’s working for her!

      I do want to remind you that a trigger is still a trigger. So during this phase, if chocolate (or any dozens of other triggers) used to cause a migraine, then she should stay away from it even though she feels better.

      Good Luck!
      -Katie
      Migraine.com Moderator

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