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Keywords:

  • trigger point injections;
  • peripheral nerve blocks;
  • headache practitioners survey

(Headache 2010;50:937-942)

Background.— Many clinicians use peripheral nerve blocks (NBs) and trigger point injections (TPIs) for the treatment of headaches. Little is known, however, about the patterns of use of these procedures among practitioners in the USA.

Objectives.— The aim of this study was to obtain information on patterns of office-based use of peripheral NBs and TPIs by headache practitioners in the USA.

Methods.— Using an Internet-based questionnaire, the Interventional Procedures Special Interest Section of the American Headache Society (AHS) conducted a survey among practitioners who were members of AHS on patterns of use of NBs and TPIs for headache treatment.

Results.— Electronic invitations were sent to 1230 AHS members and 161 provided useable data (13.1%). Of the responders, 69% performed NBs and 75% performed TPIs. The most common indications for the use of NBs were occipital neuralgia and chronic migraine (CM), and the most common indications for the use of TPIs were chronic tension-type headache and CM. The most common symptom prompting the clinician to perform these procedures was local tenderness at the intended injection site. The most common local anesthetics used for these procedures were lidocaine and bupivacaine. Dosing regimens, volumes of injection, and injection schedules varied greatly. There was also a wide variation in the use of corticosteroids when performing the injections. Both NBs and TPIs were generally well tolerated.

Conclusions.— Nerve blocks and TPIs are commonly used by headache practitioners in the USA for the treatment of various headache disorders, although the patterns of their use vary greatly.