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A New Way

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An Interventional Pain Specialist is excited about a needle-free, no-pills option to end migraine pain.

HealthCheckMigrainesMore than just a headache, a migraine is a crippling condition that steals normal human function from millions of Americans every year.

Some not-so-fun facts about the dreaded migraine:
– The World Health Organization pinpointed migraine as No. 4 on their list of most disabling diseases.
– Three times the number of women have migraines.
– People with chronic migraines miss an average of 63 days of work, school and family activities in a three-month period and spend at least half of each month with debilitating pain.

Dr. Eric Lonseth, MD, an Interventional Pain Specialist with Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers in Metairie and Baton Rouge, says that migraines often come with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. And the pain can be overwhelming. One of his patients describes her migraines as feeling, “Just like pushing a baby out … of her head.”

Typical migraine sufferers find that over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and sleeping it off doesn’t often work. Botox and acupuncture can be unreliable. Prescription medication can have side effects. However, SphenoCath is a new alternative that is getting a lot of attention with pain specialists due to its positive benefits.

The treatment is:
Administered quickly in a physician’s office
Dispensed without a needle or pain
Offers immediate and often sustainable relief

What is SphenoCath?
The complicated explanation is that SphenoCath provides a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block. The simple translation is that it delivers anesthetic through the nasal passage and temporarily blocks the impulses of nerves connected to different parts of the brain.
SphenoCath has been shown to provide instant relief — often stopping the migraine in its tracks while in the doctor’s office. Reports show it will often keep migraines at bay for months.

Is SphenoCath safe?
It’s safe enough that even pregnant women can use it. This low-risk application of anesthetic has been approved for and shown to be effective in patients of all ages. Unlike needles, pills or other treatments, SphenoCath is comfortable and relieves pain on the spot. It is good for most types of headache and facial pain, from cluster headaches to trigeminal neuralgia and more.

Does insurance cover SphenoCath treatment?
Most major insurance companies cover the procedure. The manufacturer is encouraging all insurance providers to review the benefits of SphenoCath, including long-term savings on migraine medications.

Dr. Lonseth says patients may worry they don’t have time for the procedure, but he reminds them, “What we don’t have time for is the pain and loss of function with a migraine.” And the good news is, he says the procedure takes less than five minutes with a few minutes afterwards laying flat.

“It’s non-invasive, non-surgical and non-pill-related,” Lonseth says. “It stops migraines and prevents them from coming back. Best of all, it’s 15 minutes from headache to happy.”