Targeting pericranial nerve branches to treat migraine: Current approaches and perspectives

Cephalalgia. 2015 Dec;35(14):1308-22. doi: 10.1177/0333102415573511. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


Background: Migraine is a highly prevalent neurological disorders and a major individual and societal burden. Migraine is not curable at the present time, but it is amenable to acute symptomatic and preventive pharmacotherapies.

Summary: Since the latter are frequently unsatisfactory, other treatment strategies have been used or are being explored. In particular, interventions targeting pericranial nerves are now part of the migraine armamentarium. We will critically review some of them, such as invasive and noninvasive neurostimulation, therapeutic blocks and surgical decompressions.

Conclusions: Although current knowledge on migraine pathophysiology suggests a central nervous system dysfunction, there is some evidence that interventions targeting peripheral nerves are able to modulate neuronal circuits involved in pain control and that they could be useful in some selected patients. Larger, well-designed and comparative trials are needed to appraise the respective advantages, disadvantages and indications of most interventions discussed here.

Keywords: Migraine; blocks; neurostimulation; pericranial nerves; surgery; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cranial Nerves / physiopathology*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / trends
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome