Sphenopalatine blocks are short, minimally invasive procedures that effectively treat some acute and chronic facial and head pain.
The sphenopalatine ganglion, or the SPG, is a collection of nerves (sympathetic, parasympathetic, and some sensory) that lies in a bony cavity called the pterygopalatine fossa, which is deep in the mid-face.
It supplies the lacrimal gland, paranasal sinuses, glands of the mucosa of the nasal cavity and pharynx, the gingiva, and the mucous membrane and glands of the hard palate. It is not involved in feeling or movement. Sometimes after a nerve is sensitized by trauma, infection or other causes, the sympathetic activity can cause pain. Blocking the sympathetic activity by anesthetizing the SPG may stop the pain.
Sphenopalatine blocks are non-surgical procedures that can be used to diagnose the source of head and face pain. Additionally, they can be used to manage certain types of headache pain, atypical facial pain, neuralgias, and other sympathetic pain conditions.