The answer to migraine pain might be through the nose

A new procedure has been tested that would be able to reduce the occurrence of migraines up to 35 percent over a course of a month, which could significantly alter the experience of many sufferers. The procedure itself involves putting anesthetic lidocaine onto the nerves in the nasal cavity.

One upside to this procedure is that it is an outpatient one and it is relatively low in invasiveness. Administering the anesthetic lidocaine during the study was done by inserting very thin catheter into the participants noses. They also received image guided therapy while it was being inserted instead of any sort of sedation.

The thinking behind the procedure is that it is possible to short circuit some of the pathways from the nerve bundle in the nasal cavity, which might be able to stop impulses that be headache causing.

The results of the study were promising, although the procedure did not work for everyone. The average participant experienced their pain drop from an eight to a four the day following the procedure, and then rose slightly over the month but only topped out at a five.

Six percent of the patients however did not see any reduction in migraine pain from the procedure, but 88 percent found that they needed less of the painkillers that they generally took to control the pain.

Dr. Richard Lipton, the director of the Montefiore Headache Center in New York City optimistically expressed how important these findings could be.

“Unmet treatment needs in chronic migraine are huge, as is the overuse of medications. When a body gets used to having a chronic headache suppressor, the patient can experience a rebound in the absence of that suppressor. So developing an effective treatment that can reduce the need for acute medicine would be very valuable,” he said.

The patients will continue to be monitored to see what sort of results they have at the six month mark post treatment.

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