Nerve Blocks for the Treatment of COVID-19 Headache: Aarushi Suneja, MD

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The headache fellow at Cleveland Clinic outlined the design and reasoning for a new study assessing nerve blocks to treat COVID-19 headache.

"The aim of this study is both descriptive and interventional in that sense. We plan to evaluate the effectiveness of COVID-19-related headaches within reflux, but also in comparison to conventional pharmacologic treatments for excess migraineosis, or severe tension type headache.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 50% of patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 will present with a headache as an initial symptom which often persists in the post infectious period. At the 2021 Virtual American Headache Society (AHS) 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, June 3-6, researchers presented the design and method for a new prospective study that will investigate the effect of bilateral occipital nerve blocks on headache frequency, severity, and quality of life in patients who develop post-COVID-19 headache.

Bilateral occipital nerve blocks with pharmacological treatments such as steroids, Parafon Forte burst, Depakote burse, dihydroergotamine, and infusion therapy—all considered standard of care approaches—will be evaluated for their effectiveness at 1- and 2-month intervals. Led by Aarusha Suneja, MD, the hope is to develop a new standard of care for this novel headache type that has become increasingly prevalent.

Suneja, a headache fellow at Cleveland Clinic, sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss the origins for the study, as well as provide detail on how she and her colleagues plan to carry it out. She also noted that they plan to characterize demographic data, headache descriptors, and comorbidities of this cohort to aid in formal diagnostic criteria in the future.

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