New treatment to effectively combat migraine in kids
A new, minimally invasive treatment for migraines in children may provide a quicker and safer alternative to medications or intravenous therapies that come with serious side effects, a new study has found.
Migraines are a common medical condition among youth and adults, affecting 12 per cent of people ages 12 and older.
They can be especially debilitating in teenagers and often disrupt everyday activities, such as school, music and sports.
The innovative treatment called sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block does not involve needles touching the patient.
Instead, a small flexible catheter is inserted into each nostril and local anaesthetic is administered to the SPG, a nerve bundle thought to be associated with migraines, located at the back of the nose.
Briefly disabling the SPG can disrupt and reset the headache circuit, breaking a cycle of severe migraines and reducing the need for medication.
The minimally invasive SPG block takes almost immediate effect with relief potentially lasting for months, researchers said.
"This treatment, performed in an outpatient setting by an interventional radiologist, can safely relieve a child's migraine quickly," said Robin Kaye from Phoenix Children's Hospital in the US.
"By reducing the need for medications that come with serious side effects or intravenous therapies that may require hospital stays, children don't have to miss as much school and can get back to being a kid sooner," Kaye added.
Researchers conducted about 310 treatments in 200 patients ages 7 to 18 at Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Patients' pain levels before the intervention were recorded on a scale of 1-10. Ten minutes after the treatment, patients were asked to compare their pain level, using the same scale.
The researchers saw a statistically significant decrease in the headache scores, with average pain score reduction of just more than two points on the 10-point scale.
"While it isn't a cure for migraines, this treatment has the potential to really improve the quality of life for many children. "It can be performed easily, without complications, and gives quick pain relief, which is important to parents who want to see their children happy, healthy and pain free again.
If needed, we can also repeat the treatment if or when the migraine returns," said Kaye.