Peripheral nerve blocks: a therapeutic alternative for hemicrania continua

Cephalalgia. 2012 Apr;32(6):505-8. doi: 10.1177/0333102412439800. Epub 2012 Mar 21.


Objectives: A complete response to indomethacin is required for the diagnosis of hemicrania continua (HC). Nevertheless, patients may develop side effects leading to withdrawal of this drug. Several alternatives have been proposed with no consistent effectiveness. Both anaesthetic blocks of peripheral nerves and trochlear corticosteroid injections have been effective in some case reports.

Methods: Twenty-two patients with HC were assessed in a headache outpatient office. Physical examination included palpation of the supraorbital nerve (SON) and greater occipital nerve (GON) as well as of the trochlear area.

Results: In 14 patients, at least one tender point was detected. Due to indomethacin intolerance, at least one anaesthetic block of the GON or SON, or an injection of corticosteroids in the trochlear area, were performed in nine patients. Four of them were treated with a combination procedure. All these patients experienced total or partial improvement lasting from 2 to 10 months.

Conclusion: Anaesthetic blocks or corticosteroid injections may be effective in HC patients showing tenderness of the SON, GON or trochlear area.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cranial Nerves / surgery*
  • Female
  • Headache / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / methods*
  • Neuralgia / surgery*
  • Peripheral Nerves / surgery
  • Young Adult