Migraine Screening

Millions of people suffer from painful chronic headache conditions all over the United States, and they don’t seem to be getting better. Managing pain is a chore for many headache patients, who often feel discouraged and exhausted by a lack of day-to-day pain relief.

Here’s another discouraging statistic: Over 60% of patients have given up on their prescription medications. Conventional chronic headache prescriptions such as topiramate and triptan can often go well over $500 every month. For such expensive treatment, the numerous uncomfortable accompanying side effects as well as an overall absence of pain relief mean that the majority of patients need something better.

The SphenoCath® procedure differs from conventional headache prescription medications, because we treat the pain right at its source with a quick, relatively painless and minimally invasive SPG blocking technique.

SPG Blocks

The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a collection of neurons inside the head. It is located outside of the brain, but is exposed to the outside environment due to its connection to the nasal mucosa. The SPG is connected to a number of different pain associated issues in the head, including migraine, tension and cluster headaches, as well as headaches with mixed symptoms.

An SPG block is a procedure that administers medication to the SPG, which modulates nerve impulses to try to provide effective and long-lasting pain relief. SPG block has been done for many years but, until the invention of the patented SphenoCath®, the procedure has been difficult, uncomfortable, and offered only by a few practitioners. Now SPG blocks can be done quickly, easily, and comfortably, and by a wide variety of practitioners.

About the Procedure

The SphenoCath® SPG block provides immediate, long-lasting relief for the majority of people who suffer from migraine or cluster headaches, facial pain (called trigeminal neuralgia), or maxillary pain (i.e. upper teeth root canal).

During the procedure, lidocaine gel is applied in the nose. The physician then uses a disposable SphenoCath catheter to deliver medication through the nasal passage to reach SPG nerves and block the signals associated with chronic migraines.

This outpatient procedure takes only 15 minutes and does not require any needles. It is designed to be safe and relatively painless, and is effective in patients of all ages (adults and children), as well as pregnant women—with minimal to no side effects.

The medication provides immediate and ongoing pain relief for the majority of patients and the procedure is covered by most insurance companies. Patients typically repeat treatment three or four times a year to remain pain free.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

The SphenoCath SPG block is covered by Medicare and most private health insurance companies. Ask your healthcare provider or check with your insurance carrier.

Free Screenings

Interventional radiologist Jeffrey Himmelberg, MD, offers free migraine screenings at Fremont Health.

For a schedule of upcoming screenings or for more information about the procedure, contact:
Stacey Ernesti, Director of Imaging Services
402-727-3785 or