Migraine Headache Following Stellate Ganglion Block for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy


Dr. Lance J. Lehmann, Apartment 604, 11712 Pleasant Ridge Drive, Little Rock, AR 72212


The alteration of extracranial blood flow in conjunction with clinical signs of autonomic nervous system dysfunction have led to various explanations concerning the pathophysiology of migraine headache.

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a painful disorder of the sympathetic nervous system, can be treated by blocking the sympathetic nerves located in the stellate ganglion, resulting in vasodilation, ptosis, miosis, and anhydrosis. In theory, these changes could trigger a migraine headache attack secondary to autonomic dysfunction reflecting an imbalance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This may be especially true in a patient with a previous history of meningitis that may have resulted in a disorder of cerebrovescular regulation. We report a 56-year-old man with no previous history of migraine who developed migraine with aura after a stellate ganglion block. Those episodic headaches occurred with decreasing frequency end severity for over 6 months, with eventual complete resolution. This interesting phenomenon has not been reported in the English literature and may help to better understand the pathophysiology of migraine.