We feel most headaches and facial pain are related to the nerves that innervate the head and face. Diagnostic nerve blocks are one of the most important tools for the diagnosis and treatment of facial and head pain! When obtaining a history from the patient, it is critical to listen to the patient describe his or her pain. Especially important is where the pain starts and where, if any, the “trigger points” are. As the examiner listens, he or she should think of the nerve innervation to those trigger points. It is common to find that if an isolated nerve off the trigeminal nerve triggers the pain, then other branches can begin to hurt. Knowledge of the anatomy and nerve innervation is critical.
Nerve blocks are an efficient, inexpensive, and low risk tool to diagnose peripheral trigeminal neuralgia. This is usually performed on the first clinic visit with a new patient and can provide important information. If done properly, it may also treat the pain for varying periods of time.
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