Sphenopalatine (nasal) ganglion: remote effects including "psychosomatic" symptoms, rage reaction, pain, and spasm

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1979 Aug;60(8):353-9.


Many articles implicate the nasal ganglion in the production of remote symptoms and discuss treatment. Symptoms are primarily spastic, involving both visceral and voluntary muscles including muscle spasm in the neck, shoulder, and low back; asthma, hypertension, intestinal spasm; diarrhea, angina pectoris, uterine spasm; intractable hiccup, and many others. All these symptoms appear to have 2 common denominators. They are mediated by the autonomic nervous system and at least in some instances can be "psychosomatic." The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a major autonomic ganglion located superficially in the pterygopalatine fossa, with major afferent distribution to the entire nasopharynx and important connections with the trigeminal nerve, facial nerve, internal carotid artery plexus of the sympathetic nervous system and, as shown in the rat, direct connection with the anterior pituitary gland. This paper presents arguments supporting the following hypotheses: 1. The SPG probably has a crucial role in lower animals in declenching the reflex responses known collectively as the rage reaction. 2. The SPG is a major point of entry to the autonomic system exposed to pathologic influences and readily accessible for therapeutic influences and readily accessible for therapeutic intervention. 3. A wide variety of symptoms are produced or maintained by alteration in autonomic system tonus and some of these may be affected by intervention on the SPG. 4. The possible relationship of some symptoms and "psychosomatic" conditions to the autonomic nervous system and the rage reaction must be considered.20

MeSH terms

  • Anger / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / anatomy & histology*
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / physiology
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Palate
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / anatomy & histology
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Rage / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Spasm / physiopathology
  • Sphenoid Bone