This is a reprint from my “Dr. Shapira’s Chicago Headache Blog on I HATE Headaches.org
I Have added some patient testimonial videos to expand on the topic of Sphenpalatine Ganglion Blocks on a more personal level.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sphenopalatine (nasal) Ganglion (SPG) can be responsible for much more than headaches.
I came across this interesting abstract (below) on the spenopalatine ganglion and how it can cause remote effects. According to the article published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1979 Aug;60(8):353-9 it can be responsible for wide ranging disorders. “Symptoms are primarily spastic, involving both visceral and voluntary muscles including muscle spasm in the neck, shoulder, and low back; asthma, hypertension, intestinal spasm; diarrhea, angina pectoris, uterine spasm; intractable hiccup, and many others.” I must disagree that the symptoms are “psychosomatic”, I would venture that doctors facing idiopathic conditions sometimes label what they do not understand as psychosomatic. I have not read the original article only the abstract at this time and I am not sure how the authors are using the term psychosomatic.
All of the symptoms are mediated by the autonomic nervous system. The authors point out the connections to the Trigeminal Nerve, facial nerve and to the internal carotid artery plexus of the sympathetic nervous system. these connections could explain how the SPG is ntimately involved in TMD (TMJ) disorders and facial pain, migraines, tension headaches and other problems.
Neuromuscular dentistry will have effects on the trigeminal and facial nerves that travel thru the SPG but use of intranasal spenopalatine blocks will be a valuable tool in treating these autonomic aspects of chronic pain. Neuromuscular Dentists and all physicians and dentists treating chronic pain should be well versed in utilization of intranasal SPG blocks.
The rage reaction may also be affected by the SPG which may explain chemical changes seen in the brains of chronic pain patients. The connections to the pituitary gland could have effects on a wide variety of hormonal conditions.
I have seen remarkable results in some patients while utilizing SPG intranasal blocks while in other patients they seem ineffective. This may actually constitute a diagnostic evaluation for how large an autonomic effect is in a given patient.
Neuromuscular dentistry can evaluate the changes that take place in the masticatory muscles by utilizing EMG measurements of the masticatory muscles before and after SPG blocks. However we will only be able to measure the effects on voluntary muscles but not on visceral muscles or autonomic function. The field of neuromuscular dentistry has tremendous effects on the trigeminal nerve input to the brain. The Trigemnal nerve (fifth cranial nerve) is responsible for over 50% of the total input to the brain. the autonomic components are still not well understood by clinicians treating migraines, tension headaches, TMD, myofascial pain and other disorders. RSD (Reflex sympathetic Dystrophy) or CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) are autonomic manifestations are some some of the most troubling in clinical treatment of pain.
The authors presents arguments supporting the following hypotheses:” 1. The SPG probably has a crucial role in lower animals in declenching the reflex responses known collectively as the rage reaction. 2. The SPG is a major point of entry to the autonomic system exposed to pathologic influences and readily accessible for therapeutic influences and readily accessible for therapeutic intervention. 3. A wide variety of symptoms are produced or maintained by alteration in autonomic system tonus and some of these may be affected by intervention on the SPG. 4. The possible relationship of some symptoms and “psychosomatic” conditions to the autonomic nervous system and the rage reaction must be considered.”
I am sometimes amazed at the effectiveness that we achieve utilizing a neuromuscular orthotic while we still do not have a good grasp on the underlying neurology. I believe why we are so successful in eliminating, preventing and treating chronic migraines and headaches is that the correction of the proprioceptive input accomplished by neuromuscular dental orthotics or occlusal corrections is such an emormous reduction in noxious neural input that we accidentally produce vast beneficial effects throughout the trigeminovascular system, the autonomic nervous system, the hormonal systems influenced by the pituitary gland and in the part of the brain (retained) that is involved in rage reflexes found in lower animals.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1979 Aug;60(8):353-9.
Sphenopalatine (nasal) ganglion: remote effects including “psychosomatic” symptoms, rage reaction, pain, and spasm.
Many articles implicate the nasal ganglion in the production of remote symptoms and discuss treatment. Symptoms are primarily spastic, involving both visceral and voluntary muscles including muscle spasm in the neck, shoulder, and low back; asthma, hypertension, intestinal spasm; diarrhea, angina pectoris, uterine spasm; intractable hiccup, and many others. All these symptoms appear to have 2 common denominators. They are mediated by the autonomic nervous system and at least in some instances can be “psychosomatic.” The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a major autonomic ganglion located superficially in the pterygopalatine fossa, with major afferent distribution to the entire nasopharynx and important connections with the trigeminal nerve, facial nerve, internal carotid artery plexus of the sympathetic nervous system and, as shown in the rat, direct connection with the anterior pituitary gland. This paper presents arguments supporting the following hypotheses: 1. The SPG probably has a crucial role in lower animals in declenching the reflex responses known collectively as the rage reaction. 2. The SPG is a major point of entry to the autonomic system exposed to pathologic influences and readily accessible for therapeutic influences and readily accessible for therapeutic intervention. 3. A wide variety of symptoms are produced or maintained by alteration in autonomic system tonus and some of these may be affected by intervention on the SPG. 4. The possible relationship of some symptoms and “psychosomatic” conditions to the autonomic nervous system and the rage reaction must be considered.20
PMID: 464779 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Labels: autonomic nervous system, facial pain, improving quality TMD, migraine treatment SPG, pituitary, Spenopalatine ganglion block headaches, TMJ
posted by Dr Shapira at 7:22 PM
Friday, February 12, 2010
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks are an easy for patients to use to prevent migraine and relieve tension-type headaches
The Sphenopalatine ganglion block can be used to prevent and/or relieve headaches and Migraines. I have used it for many years in my office as an adjunct for treating headaches and migraines in patients. While it is not effective for all patients there is a subgroup that remarkable relief from pain and a second group that can stop a migraine before it becomes full blown.
The real beauty of SPG blocks is that they are simple and safe and I teach patients how to use them at home when they need them. The block is done with a Q-tip with lidocaine. The q-tip is gently place in the nostril until the lidocaine soaked cotton tip is adjacent to the SPG. This is left in place for 20-30 minutes. It ia also effective for some patients with cluster headaches and sinus headaches. The results for some patients are miraculous while other patients have minimal change in symptoms. Some patients who do not get relief from the SPG block can prevent migraines and chronic daily headache by regular use a a preventitve agent.
This uses only lidocaine and is extremely minimal to no risk if there is not a lidocaine allergy.
This is not replacement for treating the underlying causes of the pain with a neuromuscular orthotic but is a great adjunct durng treatment and for those patients who do not get complete relief.
Labels: cluster headache treatment, migraine treatment SPG, neuromuscular dentistry, spenopalatine block TMJ, Spenopalatine ganglion block headaches, TMD, TMJ