SPG Blocks: Covid-19 Stress Anxiety, Headaches, Migraines and PTSD. Self-Administered Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks May be an Answer for Many.

Treating Anxiety / Headache and TMJ Disorders Associated with COVID 19 with Self-Administered Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks (SASPGB).

We are living in a period of very high stress and anxiety due to the Corona virus outbreak. Unfortunately, there is excellent research that chronic levels of stress and anxiety and associated sleep disruptions tend to decrease our immune responses.

Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) Blocks are excellent for treating many types of pain including Chronic Headaches, Sinus Pain, Migraine and TMJ Disorders. SPG Blocks can also eliminate about 1/3 of Essential Hypertension that is secondary to Sympathetic Overload. They can also be extremely helpful with stressed induced insomnia, both sleep onset insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia.

Many medical mental health specialists expect that we will see widespread Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problems secondary to this epidemic, both from the general public as especially from members of our healthcare community.  Please see 3/12/2021 update of a clinical study currently underway:  ‘The Effect of Ganglion Sphenopalatine Block (SPG-block) Versus Placebo on Persistent Headache Following COVID-19 Infection: a Randomised, Blinded, Clinical Trial”  The clinical study page is included at the bottom of this article!

Chronic anxiety will also affect many when this crisis is over. This is a disease / condition of Sympathetic Overload (SO).

The use of Self-Administered Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks (SASPGB) are ideal for dealing with this type of stress, anxiety and PTSD disorders. The concept of Self-Care and active patient participation is well known to increase medical outcomes. Self-Administered Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks are a perfect adjunct for self care.

SASPGB are done with 2% lidocaine which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. There are other anesthetics that can be utilized but Lidocaine has multiple advantages especially safety and minimal toxicity.. Longer acting anesthetics are appealing if patients must go to the physician or Emergency Department but are not needed when utilizing self administration.

More importantly is that Self-Administered SPG Blocks (SASPGB) take effect almost immediately with virtually no negative side effects. Like all treatments different individuals will have unique responses.  There are two available commercial products for doing SPG Blocks, the Sphenocath and the TX 360 and both are modified “squirt guns” for depositing anesthetic over the mucosa covering the medial  wall of the pterygoid fossa behind which is the SP Ganglion.  Swabs dipped in anesthetic are sometimes utilized but I personally utilize the Cotton Tipped Sterile Nasal Catheters the give continual capillary feed of anesthetic for greatly improved efficacy, convenience and cost effectiveness.

Some individuals respond almost instantly and seemingly magically to their first Trans-Nasal SPG Block (TNSPGB) while others respond best to a series of blocks.

Injection therapy is frequently utilized for severe patients who do not respond initially to a trans-nasal SPG Block. The Chronic Daily Headache and Status Migraine or continuous Migraine patient often respond fastest initially to an injection which can be done intra-orally through the Greater Palatine Foramen or extra-orally by the Supra-Zygomatic approach through the Pterygopalatine Fissure. This is the most direct approach to the Pterygopalatine fossa where the Sphenopalatine Ganglion resides on at the Maxillary Division of the Trigeminal Nerve.

The Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block has been called “The Miracle Block” and has over a hundred year history of safety and efficacy. Originally described by Greenfield Sluder MD in 1908 it faded in use as the pharmaceutical industry created quick cure drugs for almost every ailment. It may have been lost until the book “MIRACLES ON PARK AVENUE” was published in 1986. That book started the revival of the miracle block.

The Sphenopalatine Ganglion is the largest Parasympathetic Ganglion of the cranium . The SPG also has Somatosensory nerves and carries sympathetic nerves from the Cervical Sympathetic Chain. The Stellate Ganglion (SG) is at the bottom of this chain. The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) has been called the Miracle Block as well and in some veterans one block to the Ganglion can cure PTSD. This is under study by the military. The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) will have a significant place in psychological treatments but is usually administered for Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (CRPS) also called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD) or Causalgia. The SPG Block will serve as an Indirect Stellate Ganglion Block (ISGB)

The Sympathetic response is known to cause many medical issues related to chronic stress. The “Fight or Flight” reflex is a powerful reflex to insure safety or survival of an individual. If you run into Grizzly bear you get ready to run like crazy or fight for your life. While important for survival in Acute stress dangerous conditions the ongoing Sympathetic overload causes multiple diseases and dysfunction including headaches, migraines and anxiety.
The Parasympathetic Reflex is the “Feed and Breed” reflex or “Rest and Digest” reflex. The Parasympathetic reflex is primary in Romantic Love. It comes out when we play with puppies, kittens or babies and is a natural anti-anxiety response.

Patients suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) often get the most lasting relief by utilizing a combination of injections initially followed by Self Administered SPG Blocks.

Recently I have worked with a Dynatronics iontophoresis unit to utilize iontophoresis to increase the effect of Self-Administered SPG Blocks.

Nomenclature is important and I suggest that the following will be extremely helpful in dealing with Covid 19 Stress Disorders (CV19SD)

SPG= Sphenopalatine Ganglion

SPGB= Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

SASGPB = Self-Administered Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

SG = Stellate Ganglion

SGB = Stellate Ganglion Block

ISGB =Indirect Stellate Ganglion Block

SO = Sympathetic Overload

SR = Sympathetic Reflex

PR = Parasympathetic Reflex

SPGN = Sphenpalatine Ganglion Neuralgia also known as Sluder’s Neuralgia

PPG = Pterygopalatine Ganglion is the same as Sphenopalatine Ganglion named by location in Pterygopalatine Fossa

NG = Nasal Ganglion Same as Sphenopalatine Ganglion, Pterygopalatine Ganglion and Sluder’s Ganglion

SSPGB = Suprazygomatic Spehnopalatine Ganglion Block

IOSPGB = Intra-Oral Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

GPFSPGB = Greater Palatine Foramen Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

TNSPGB = Trans-Nasal Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

The Effect of Ganglion Sphenopalatine Block Versus Placebo on Persistent Headache Following COVID-19 Infection

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04636034

Recruitment Status  : Recruiting

First Posted  : November 19, 2020
Last Update Posted  : January 14, 2021
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Mads Seit Jespersen, University Hospital Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg
Study Description
Go to  
Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of the ganglion sphenopalatine block (SPG block) on persistent headache following acute COVID-19 infection.
Condition or disease  Intervention/treatment  Phase 
HeadacheCovid19Sphenopalatine Ganglion BlockPersistent Headache Following COVID-19 Procedure: Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block with Local AnestheticProcedure: Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block with Placebo (Isotone NaCl)Procedure: “Sham”-block with Placebo (Isotone NaCl) Phase 3


Detailed Description:

Adult patients with persistent headache following COVID-19 infection will be enrolled in the study. The patients will be randomised into three groups; bilateral SPG-block withto receive local anesthetic (lidocaine + ropivacaine), bilateral SPG-block with placebo (isotone NaCl) or bilateral “sham”-block with placebo (isotone NaCl).

Primary outcome is hyperactivity in the sphenopalatine ganglion assessed by pain intensity (0-100mm on a visual analogue scale, VAS) of the headache in standing position 30 minutes after block in the group Ropicavain-Lidocain and “sham”.

Study Design
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Study Type  : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment  : 60 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The Effect of Ganglion Sphenopalatine Block (SPG-block) Versus Placebo on Persistent Headache Following COVID-19 Infection: a Randomised, Blinded, Clinical Trial
Actual Study Start Date  : January 12, 2021
Estimated Primary Completion Date  : August 2021
Estimated Study Completion Date  : November 2021

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