Science and Tech


This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day.
Posted at 1:45 PM, Mar 02, 2015

Migraines suck. There's no other way to put it. But thanks to some smart researchers, migraines might not suck as much.

Researchers at Albany Medical Center found that delivering lidocaine, a common anesthetic, straight to the nerves in the back of your nasal cavity offers some serious relief from those migraines.

But getting to the back of your nasal cavity means going up your nose. Sounds uncomfortable, but it's better than a pounding headache, right?

In the study, the medical team used 112 participants, who were about 45 years old on average. All of these patients had been diagnosed with migraines or cluster headaches. During treatment, patients had a small catheter inserted into each nostril and up into the nasal passage, where a dose of lidocaine was released. 

Before treatment, participants were asked to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most painful. The pain rate average was about eight. The day after the treatment, pain scores were around four.

For the most part, the test was a success, with 88 percent of people in the study reporting they needed less pain medication.

However, researchers acknowledged the procedure is just a temporary solution to migraines but say they will continue studying the nasal spray approach and review the results after six months.

For now, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says there's "no absolute cure" for migraines.

This video includes an image from 19melissa68 / CC BY NC 2.0.