Anyone who suffers from migraines is looking for relief. A new study from the Albany Medical Center, New York, may have found a treatment that will work for some individuals. While the study is ongoing, early findings suggest after a single outpatient treatment migraine pain was reduced in 35 percent of the patients for up to a month after the procedure. 

The average patient rated their pain at 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, and suffered from migraine or cluster headaches. The treatment did not require sedation, and involved inserting a spaghetti size catheter into the patient’s nostril and the nasal passage, the treatment was repeated on the each nostril. A common, topical anesthetic, lidocaine was administered to the nerve cluster, sphenopalatine ganglion, at the back of the nasal passage. 

The study included 112 patients, about 45 years of age. The study’s lead author Dr. Kenneth Mandato referred to the ‘target nerve bundle as resembling “a complex highway crossing with many [nerve] signals and exits going in all directions.” And, he said, the hope was that lidocaine would essentially short-circuit that bundle’s headache-causing pathway’.
“The day after the procedure, average migraine pain levels had dropped from about 8 to just over 4. Pain scores rose only marginally a week after the procedure, and reached an average of just over 5 by the one month post-procedure mark, according to the study.
The procedure didn’t help everyone, though. Seven of the patients (about 6 percent) failed to get any benefit from the treatment, the investigators found. However, 88 percent of those in the study reported needing less standard pain relief medication after the procedure.”
While the study continues to follow these patients, it does show some potential in helping those that live with these painful episodes.  
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