Millions of people suffer from migraines. Whether it happens every day or only a few times a year, they are extremely difficult to live with. Chronic migraines can occur anywhere or anytime, which makes it challenging to go to work, be present with your family, or enjoy time with friends. Unfortunately, many of the treatments currently available for migraines are either ineffective or render unpleasant side effects that are worse than the the actual headache!


Fortunately, Asheville family doctor Jason Cook, MD is in the process of developing Relaspen, a better solution for migraine relief. Relaspen is a portable SPG block that has proven to be both safe and effective through the testing of its initial prototype. When it becomes readily available, those struggling with migraines will be able to use the device on-the-go while minimizing the number of doctor’s visits and eliminating unpleasant medications from their lives.




SPG stands for Sphenopalatine Ganglion. This is a cluster of nerve cells located directly behind the nose. When a migraine is triggered, which can happen in many different ways, the sensory pain receptors are activated. These receptors transmit the pain impulses through the SPG, which is connected to the trigeminal nerve, and into the brain stem, where the migraine cascade of auras, pain, and other symptoms begin.


An SPG block is a procedure in which a topical anesthetic (lidocaine) is applied to this cluster of nerve cells.  When the medication is absorbed through the nasal lining into the SPG, then it can no longer transmit pain impulses. Aside from migraines, SPG blocks have been used to treat a variety of other conditions such as cluster headache, trigeminal neuralgia, and post-concussive headache.


SPG blocks are a very effective way to treat migraines and an excellent alternative to existing treatments. This is because the topical anesthetic is typically tolerated well and works quickly to calm the agitated nerves, providing relief within 20 minutes, or less. Unlike other systemic medications, which commonly cause dizziness, nausea, fatigue and fogginess, topical lidocaine has no adverse effects for most people.


So why haven’t more migraine patients tried SPG blocks?  Many doctors have not been trained in SPG blocks, and the currently available devices are often too expensive for many doctor’s offices.  Even if your neurologist or headache specialist does SPG blocks, it is often difficult to get an appointment in time to use the procedure for acute, severe migraines.  Not to mention the fact that migraines tend to happen when doctor’s offices are closed!




Created by family physician, Dr. Jason Cook specifically, to provide his own patients better migraine care, Relaspen is a portable migraine relief device that offer patients a “DIY” SPG block that can be used anytime and anywhere.  Relaspen administers lidocaine to the SPG nerve cluster located behind the nose. This relaxes and numbs the area, providing quick and long-lasting migraine relief.


Relaspen has the power to revolutionize migraine treatment. By combining the power of an SPG block with the convenience of self administration, the device is slim and lightweight, making it easy to carry around,  Relaspen allows migraine patients to give themselves effective relief anytime, anywhere. It has been called “an EpiPen for migraines.”