The Medical Explanation for Dr Shevel’s Cluster Headache Treatment
The drug, Sumatriptan was developed to treat migraine, but as it transpired, it is far more effictive in the treatment of cluster headache than it is in the treatment of migraine. Many cluster sufferers have discovered that Imigran also known as Imitrex injections (which contain sumatriptan) are the most reliable and effective way of aborting cluster headache attacks.
The only action of Imitrex/Imigran is to constrict the painfully dilated extracranial (outside the skull) terminal branches of the external carotid artery. This understanding led to Dr Shevel’s reasoning that, if Imitrex/Imigran works to stop cluster headache attacks, then the painfully dilated extracranial terminal branches of the external carotid artery are clearly involved in generating the pain. When the arteries dilate, they give off pain producing neuropeptides and in some unfortunate people, the painfully dilated maxillary artery impacts the pterygopalatine ganglion (also known as the sphenopalatine ganglion) triggering powerful neural pain impulses to the brain, with the result of cluster headache.
(For those cluster headache sufferers who have not yet tried Imitrex, we recommend that you discuss this with your physician, or contact us to evaluate whether this could help you in the interim.)
Dr Shevel’s scientific approach of questioning and researching resulted in the breakthrough innovation of this unique procedure to close the maxillary artery on the affected side, and achieve a permanent Imitrex or Imigran effect. He sees it as no coincidence that the area of maximum intensity of pain (as pictured in the section above) is the precise area supplied by the maxillary artery.
Without the dilating of the maxillary artery giving off neuropeptides or affecting the pterygopalatine ganglion, this collection point of nerves no longer sends pain impulses to the brain.
All the arteries treated at The Headache Clinic, including the maxillary artery are permanently closed in medicine every day by Neurosurgeons, Maxillo-Facial Surgeons, Plastic surgeons, and ENT surgeons for a variety of other reasons. Dr Shevel’s technique however is unique and minimally invasive.