New Migraine Treatment: A Beacon of Hope
Certified medical assistants are often the first medical professional that patients see when arriving at a hospital, emergency room or private practice.
Because of this, it is often the case that these assistants work with individuals who are experiencing severe pain from a recent injury or chronic condition, such as recurring migraines.
According to multiple sources around the medical community, pain from recurring migraines may become more rare as a new effective treatment has emerged for dealing with the headaches.
According to CBS, the new migraine treatment differs from earlier established methods predominantly in that it doesn’t require any sort of invasive procedure.1 This is of particular importance to migraine sufferers, because small acts such as moving or even being exposed to light can be extremely painful and unpleasant during an episode.
Rather, this new treatment focuses on administering an active medication to an area of the head that has been proven to be associated with migraines. The treatment, which is known as image-guided, intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion blocking, according to the Society of Interventional Radiology, involves inserting a small catheter into the affected individuals nasal passages.2
Once the catheter has been put in place, it is used to administer small, low concentration amounts of a drug called lidocaine. The lidocaine is applied directly to the sphenopalatine ganglion, a bundle of nerves found behind the nose which is thought by many to be a primary source of migraine pain and symptoms.
The new treatment was tested in a study performed by a team of medical researchers and doctors led by Dr. Kenneth Mandato. In order to track the effectiveness of the report, United Press International reports that Mandato and colleagues used a visual analog scale, or VAS.3 The VAS requires patients to rate how debilitating they find their migraine symptoms to be on a simple one to 10 scale, in terms of pain and lost ability.
According to multiple sources, the average VAS reported before receiving the new treatment was roughly 8.25. After patients received the catheter-based anesthetic, their VAS scores improved dramatically, with the average post treatment VAS a 4.1 and the average one month out of treatment a 5.25.
Though there is not yet any data available regarding the long term effects of a single treatment’s ability to curb future migraines, Mandato believes that his research may be integral in reducing the amount of care needed for migraine sufferers, who often need to frequent the hospital for emergency pain-relief treatments. In speaking with United Press International, he indicated this theory.
“Administration of lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion acts as a ‘reset’ button for the brain’s migraine circuitry. When the initial numbing of the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did. Some patients have reported immediate relief and are making fewer trips to the hospital for emergency pain medication,” said Mandato.
Causes of Migraines
There is a vast array of relatively inconclusive evidence available concerning exactly what causes migraines, but it seems to be different for each individual. Many people who suffer from chronic migraines find that noise or light can bring them on unexpectedly.
There is also research to indicate that migraines can be a result of former psychological trauma, as Medical News Today has reported that individuals who experienced childhood abuse and neglect are more likely to sustain migraines in the future.4
1) CBS Local, ‘New Treatment Could Give Migraine Sufferers More Relief,’ 3/2/2015, http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/03/02/new-treatment-could-give-migraine-sufferers-more-relief/
2) Verillo, Maryann, The Society of Interventional Radiology, ‘Image-guided Treatment Shown to Break the Migraine Cycle,’ 3/1/2015, http://www.sirweb.org/news/newsPDF/Release_ASM15_headaches77_21815_final.pdf
3) Hays, Brooks, United Press International, ‘Novel Migraine Treatment Shows Promise,’ 3/2/2015, http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/03/02/New-migraine-treatment-shows-promise/4291425305380/
4) Whiteman, Honor, Medical News Today, ‘Child Abuse Linked to Increased Risk of Migraine in Adulthood,’ 12/26/2014 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287320.php