I have been treating Chronic Head and Neck Pain with Neuromuscular Dentistry and SPG Blocks for over 30 years. SPG Blocks or SphenoPalatine Ganglion Blocks are very effective for relieving Chronic Tension Headache, Migraine and Autonomic Cephalgias including Cluster Headaches. My preferred method of treatment is to teach patients to self-administer the SPG Blocks with cotton tipped nasal catheters in the comfort of their homes without troublesome visits to doctors offices or emergency rooms. Patients find it very empowering to be able to take control of their pain issues.
This brand new article discusses the use of Self Administered SPG Blocks for treating head and neck cancer pain. The conclude that Self-Administered SPG Blocks “provide excellent immediate pain relief with a minimum side effect. It can be performed bilaterally, repeatedly and even with a feeding tube in place.”
Head and Neck Cancer Pain can be extreme and difficult to control with any medication but frequently can be controlled with simple SPG Blocks. Side effects include reduced anxiety, depression and a feeling of “well being”
Additional benefits of SPG Blocks are decreased anxiety and depression and lowering of high blood pressure. The blocks serve as a reset button to the autonomic nervous system. Most chronic pain is related to sympathetic overload associated with stress. Stress is significantly reduced when patients are empowered to treat their pain without narcotics.
Neuromuscular Dentistry also directs itself to calming of the autonomic nervous system and correcting sympathetic overload. The Sphenopalatine Ganglion is on the Maxillary branch of the Trigeminal nerve and the gentle ULF-TENS of the Myomonitor acts as a SPG stimulator.
This is one of the reasons Neuromuscular Dentistry can provide remarkable relief through a simple diagnostic orthotic.
Indian J Palliat Care. 2017 Jul-Sep;23(3):282-286. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_39_17.
Home-based Application of Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block for Head and Neck Cancer Pain Management.
Sanghavi PR1, Shah BC1, Joshi GM1.
Head and neck cancer pain is intractable and difficult to manage. Many a times it is difficult to treat with oral opioids and adjuvants.
This study aims to study the effects of transnasal sphenopalatine ganglion block (SPGB), administered using cotton swab/ear bud by patients’ caretaker, at home, for pain management.
This is a prospective, single-arm observational study conducted on 100 head and neck cancer patients, from January 2014 to December 2015. Patients and caretaker were given a demonstration of the procedure using sterile cotton swab/ear buds. They were advised to repeat the procedure when their visual analog score (VAS) was more than 5. They continued with the oral analgesics. They kept the records of pre- and post-procedure pain score (VAS), the frequency of repetition, ease of performance of procedure, and morphine requirement. A paired t-test (SPSS software) was used for statistical analysis.
A significant reduction in pain was noted by a decrease in mean VAS from 8.57 ± 1.31 to 2.46 ± 1.23 (P < 0.0001), immediately on first administration. The mean duration of analgesia was 4.95 ± 3.43 days. Pre- and post-procedure mean morphine requirement were 128.2 ± 84.64 and 133.8 ± 81.93 (P > 0.05) mg per day, at the end of 2 months. Ease of performance was observed in 88 patients.
The home-based application of SPGB is an easy, safe, and cost-effective method to manage cancer pain. It provides excellent immediate pain relief with a minimum side effect. It can be performed bilaterally, repeatedly and even with a feeding tube in place.
Head and neck cancer; pain management; palliative care; sphenopalatine ganglion block, Chicago Head and Neck Pain