How Lidocaine Infusions May Help Those With Chronic Migraines

If you've ever had a migraine, then you know how brutal the experience can be. For those who experience migraines on a nearly daily basis, a new study has found lidocaine infusions may offer relief, reveals U.S. News & World Report. Published on May 23, 2022 in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, the study found that refractory chronic migraines (rCM) can be successfully treated with lidocaine infusion treatment.

According to MedicalNewsToday, refractory migraines are migraines that don't respond to standard treatments, and sometimes don't respond to other treatments at all. In the U.S., approximately 10% of men and 20% of women experience migraines. To be diagnosed with refractory chronic migraines, a person must have at least eight migraines per month for six months, without responding to prevention therapies, or finding relief from conventional migraine cures. 

At the start of the new study, patients reported migraines that lasted for an average of four hours and moderate to severe headaches about 27 days each month (via U.S. News & World Report). However, following lidocaine infusions given through intravenous (IV) therapy, which was administered during hospitalization, the patients reported an average of four additional migraine-free days per month.

How lidocaine can treat pain

Lidocaine is an anesthetic, or numbing substance, that has also been found to reduce inflammation (via U.S. News & World Report). Lidocaine can be administered topically, through injections, and by lidocaine infusions as was utilized in the recent study. There are also over-the-counter (OTC) topical lidocaine creams, gels, ointments, and patches that can be used to treat pain by numbing the area where the OTC product is applied, reports VeryWell Health. It can also relieve itchiness from some insect bites and skin conditions like eczema.

When it comes to lidocaine treatments provided by a qualified healthcare professional, lidocaine injections can be administered during in-office visits and out-patient procedures (per Mayo Clinic). Lidocaine injections can provide pain relief by blocking signals sent to the brain by specific nerves. Injections of lidocaine can be administered as trigger point injections, epidurals, or other techniques for treating localized areas of the body. 

For more intense pain, lidocaine infusions can be delivered through an IV. The recent study that found relief in patients suffering from refractory chronic migraines is not the first study that has found lidocaine infusions helpful in treating severe and chronic pain. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Anesthesia and Clinical Research found that lidocaine infusions can help alleviate chronic pain, including back pain, nerve injury, whiplash, and fibromyalgia, and ultimately decrease the amount of opioid pain medication patients need to take.