The pain, agony and suffering associated with headaches of all types can rapidly destroy your quality of life. The suffering while waiting for medication to take effect can be maddening. This is even more true when an individual has chronic severe headaches.
The most common approach of patients is to try over the counter medications that all have similar issues with slow onset and negative side effects. Effectiveness varies and often only minimal or partial relief is obtained.
Non-steroidal anti-inflamatories (NSAID) are probably the most common headache medication used. This includes aspirin (Bayer), ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Allieve) and etedolac. All of these drugs are excellent anti-inflamatories and all of them have serious side effects including GI disturbances including gastric reflux, burning, ulcers, esophageal burns, and increased bleeding times.
The biggest issue is not the negative and often dangerous side effects but the lack of effectiveness and slow onset.
Tylenol or Acetaminophen is even less effective but usually does not cause GI distress but can cause permanent liver damage especially if taken with alcohol. Again the biggest issue is poor pain relief and the considerable time it takes to reach effective blood levels to treat the pain.
Pain is felt in the Limbic System where we feel emotion. When patients are suffering severe pain their emotional level plummets.
The National Headache Foundation recommends a Triple-Combination Medication of acetylsalicylic acid, (aspirin), acetaminophen, and caffeine for tension-type headaches. Unfortunately, this still requires absorption in thee GI tract and carries the same risks as the individual drugs. Excedrin is a combination medication with these ingredients. Excedrin and Excedrin Migraine are actually the same medication.
Compare these OTC Drugs and response time to Self-Administered Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) Blocks which typically utilize 2% lidocaine, a natural anti-inflammatory that is often given to stabilize a patients heart beat but is best known as dental anesthetic.
Patient's can self-administer an SPG lidocaine block in minutes and relief for Migraine and Cluster Headaches can be almost immediate. SPG Blocks are especially effective for Tension-Type Headaches and other Trigeminal Nerve associated headaches.
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks can be administered in physicians offices and in Emergency Departments utilizing a nasal catheter such as a Sphenocath, Allevio or TX360. These are all specialized catheters designed to "squirt" lidocaine to the mucosa covering the Sphenopalatine Ganglion where it sits in the pterygopalatine fossa. The Sphenopalatine is also known as the Pteerygopalatine Ganglion, named for where it is found.
While these "squirt gun technique" blocks are effective and can also give almost immediate relief they are also expensive and the patients life is disrupted by the headache and the need to travel for the headache treatment.
The use of cotton-tipped nasal catheters allows the patient to self-administer SPG Blocks. This can be used prophylactiically to prevent headache occurrence as well as to alleviate headaches at initial onset before their increasing severity disrupt patient's lives.
Most physicians do not train patients to self-administer these blocks but it is an easily learned procedure utilized for over 100 years.
The Sphenopalatine Ganglion is the largest Parasympathetic Ganglion of the head and is part of the Autonomic Nervous System. The Sympathetic nerves are also part of the autonomic nervous system and are involved in the "fight or flight" reflex which is also known as the stress reflex.
The Sphenopalatine Ganglion is also known as the SPG, the Pterygopalatine Ganglion, the Nasal Ganglion, Meckel's Ganglion and Sluder's Ganglion after the physician who first described it's role in treating headaches in 1908.
While many medications can be utilized with SPG Blocks there is no study that has shown anything to be more effective than lidocaine. Lidocaine is a natural anti-inflamatory with positive cardiac effects in the presence of irregular heart rhythm. It is commonly utilized as dental anesthetic.
Drugs.com list 66 drugs to treat migraines, including triptans but none have been shown to be more effective than SPG Blocks though there is a massive amount of drug side effects associated with these medications. All of these medications can be helpful and SPG Blocks are safe to be used in combination with any headache or migraine medication.
Most importantly, SPG Blocks can give the fastest relief possible with the lowest risk of medication side effects. Patient may find that if they self-administer SPG Blocks they require far lower doses of medication if they need it at all.
There are side effects to Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks but in general they are positive. About 1/3 of essential hypertension can be cured with SPG Blocks. SPG Blocks can relieve anxiety, depression and stress. The blocks can relieve a wide range of eye, ear, nose , sinus and jaw pains. A 1930 article "Sphenopalatine Phenomena" by Hiram Byrd in Annals of Internal Medicine (JAMA) showed almost 100% success in 10,000 blocks in 2000 patients with virtually no negative side effects.
This amazing technique almost became lost as part of forgotten medicine when Big Pharma and pharmaceuticals changed medicine starting in the 1940's. This technique may have been lost forever but returned after the publication of a popular book "Miracles on Park Avenue" which detailed the practice of Dr Milton Reder an octogenerian New York City Otolaryngologist whose entire practice focused on treating patients utilizing only Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks.
Injection of the Sphenopalatine Ganglion may be a way to increase effectiveness of the block in an acute severe headache. Dentists are the experts at the intraoral injection through the greater palatine canal. Extra-oral injections may be done via the Suprazygomatic Approach without fluoroscopy, usually by a Neuromuscular dentist trained in treating TMJ /TMD and orofacial pain or ENT's with extensive experience in treating chronic pain patients.
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks are also very effective for treating TMJ disorders and associated Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. TMD and MPD are the primary underlying cause of all tension headaches and muscle contraction headaches.
Neuromuscular Dentistry utilizes the Myomonitor that has a fifty year safety record as a neuromodulation unit for the trigeminal and facial nerves as well as the sympathetic and parasympatheetic fibers of the autonomic system that pass thru the SPG.
The use of a Diagnostic Neuromuscular Orthotic is often the first step in permanently eliminating Tension-Type Headaches.
Learn more at www.SphenopalatineGanglionBlocks.com