Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

The most common disorder of the nervous system is headache disorders, with a reported 47% of Americans having a type of headache pain in the last year. A Sphenopalatine ganglion block is a minimally invasive procedure for treating chronic migraine and cluster headaches.


What conditions are treatable with Sphenopalatine ganglion block?

A sphenopalatine ganglion block is used to treat persons suffering from chronic headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. These conditions lower the quality of life for persons who suffer from them and the sphenopalatine ganglion block can return them to a normalized lifestyle.

Additional conditions that perform well with SPG blocks include TMJ, upper extremity pain, vasomotor rhinitis and other head/neck facial pain issues.


What can be expected when a patient receives the Sphenopalatine ganglion block?

Patients who receive a Sphenopalatine ganglion block can expect to find relief from the pain associated with chronic headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. During the procedure, many patients experience immediate or nearly immediate relief from the procedure.


How is the Sphenopalatine ganglion block procedure performed?

The Sphenopalatine ganglion block is a very low-risk, minimally invasive procedure. Traditionally there have been three methods of performing the Sphenopalatine ganglion block.

  • The simplest and least invasive method, the transnasal technique, is performed by inserting a cotton swab saturated in a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. This technique can be effective but has a lower success rate due to the inaccuracy of the placement of anesthetic. It also provides the shortest duration of relief, but provides an option for patients reluctant to have an injection.
  • Another procedure is the lateral approach, in this technique anesthetics are injected into the Sphenopalatine ganglion through the joint of the jaw. Although more accurate and longer lasting than the transnasal technique, this method is more invasive.
  • A third approach is the greater palatine foramen technique. In this procedure, the medications are injected through the roof of the mouth by inserting a needle through the greater palatine foramen, a small opening for the descending palatine vessels and greater palatine nerve.

When the Sphenopalatine ganglion block procedure is performed by injection, the patient must be sedated and there is a very slight risk of damage to tissue and nerves in the injection site. With the transnasal technique, there is less risk but also less benefit.


How long does the relief from the Sphenopalatine ganglion block procedure last?

The duration of relief from the procedure will vary depending on which procedure was performed and how well the patient responds to the medications used. A transnasal Sphenopalatine ganglion block may only provide relief for several hours while the more invasive techniques utilizing injection may provide relief for several days, long enough for the migraine or cluster headache to naturally subside.

The procedure may offer relief for weeks to months, but it is generally hard to predict who will benefit for a longer period.


What risks or side effects are possible with a Sphenopalatine ganglion block?

The transnasal method has very low to no risk while injection procedures have possible side effects of bruising or bleeding at the injection site, potential for infection, and a small risk of damage to tissue and nerve in the injection site.


How successful is the Sphenopalatine ganglion block for the relief of pain?

The level of relief for each patient cannot be anticipated as it depends on the severity of the condition and how well they respond to the medications. However, patients who receive the Sphenopalatine ganglion block will likely be provided with relief.


What is the bottom line of the Sphenopalatine ganglion block treatment?

The bottom line of this treatment is if you are a sufferer of chronic headaches, migraines, or cluster headaches and are unable to find relief, the Sphenopalatine ganglion block procedure may be the answer. This also includes TMJ, upper extremity pain, vasomotor rhinitis and other head/neck facial pain issues.


Discuss your symptoms with your Chicago pain management doctor to determine if the Sphenopalatine ganglion block may be right for you. Premier Pain & Spine offers Double Board-Certified pain management specialists in Chicago. SPG blocks are offered and most insurance is accepted.

Call (847) 519-4701 for more information and scheduling today!

Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block Pain Treatment in Chicago

Take the first step towards a pain-free life by scheduling your appointment with Premier Pain & Spine today!