Nerve blocks treatment for migraine, cluster, and other headaches – A review of the data.

This review was published in 2010 in the Journal of “Neurotherapeutics  by the department of Neurology at the Dartmouth Hitchhcock Medical Centre.


In a study of 19 patients with acute migraine and allodynia, migraine was decreased in 17 patients, and allodynia (pain and hyper sensitivity of the scalp) was relieved in all patients. The study was published in “Headache” in 2005. Another study published in “Neurology” in 2006 found that 60% of migraine patients had significant relief within five minutes after injection. Also in 2006 in the journal “Pain” long-lasting results were achieved in 26 out of 54 patients, by including an anti-inflammatory steroid with the local anaesthetic.

Cluster Headache

Published in “Cephalalgia” in 2002, 5 out of 14 cluster headache sufferers had a good response to nerve blocks, and an additional 5 patients had a moderate response. A double-blind placebo controlled nerve block trial for cluster headaches, published in “Pain” in 2005, found that 80% improved with nerve blocks, and zero improved in the placebo group. Of the patients that improved, most maintained the effect for a period of four weeks.


The following year the same journal published that long lasting effects in cluster headache were obtained by adding an anti-inflammatory steroid to the injection. The positive effect lasted for weeks. The researchers also observed that nerve blocks were most likely to be successful is the patient was having pain located in the area of that nerve.

Other Headache Types

View the full PDF at this link: Nerve Blocks in the Treatment of Headache


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