Last month the journal Headache published a review of the research on nerve blocks and trigger point injections for various types of headache, including cluster headache and migraine.
The results were generally positive – there does seem to be value in these types of treatment.
That being said, this field of research is somewhat chaotic. There is little agreement on how to go about the treatments, and the research is actually very limited.
Seeing positive results so often, it’s time to do more extensive and serious research. This will continue to be an important field of study.
For example, this month researches in Milan, Italy published an evaluation of a treatment they’ve been using for the past five years – the sphenopalatine endoscopic ganglion block for cluster headache. The treatment involves an injection of anesthetics and corticosteroids.
Similar treatment for cluster headache has been used in other countries even longer. It’s a temporary relief, however it’s been a real help to many patients. The interesting thing is that it’s successful in chronic cluster patients who were not responding to drugs.
These types of techniques are valuable because they may provide an option for others who are not responding well to drugs, but are not wanting to jump to invasive surgical procedures.
But we need more research to evaluate how to best choose treatment for individual patients.