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BMC Neurol. 2019 Oct 23;19(1):248. doi: 10.1186/s12883-019-1486-0.

Paranasal sinus air suction for immediate pain relief of acute migraine - a randomized, double blind pilot study.

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Neurology Unit, Teaching Hospital Kandy, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
Base Hospital, Matale, Sri Lanka.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka.



Migraine is a primary headache disorder, which cause significant disability in adolescence. This double blind, randomized clinical trial assessed the immediate effects of suction of paranasal sinus air during an acute migraine episode.


A randomized, double blind study was conducted with 56 selected Sri Lankan school children of 16-19 years of age. Participants who met International Headache Society criteria for migraine (with or without aura) were included in the study. Subjects were randomly allocated into 2 groups where one group was subjected to three intermittent 10 sec paranasal air suctions with a ten sec suction free interval between two suctions for each nostril and the other group was subjected to placebo air suction (no paranasal air suction) in similar arrangement. Severity of headache and sub-orbital tenderness before and after suction were recorded using standard pain rating scale.


After dropouts, treated and placebo groups consisted of 27 and 23 subjects respectively. The mean headache pain score drop in the treated group was significantly higher compared to that of the control group. Moreover, there was a difference in the treatment response between the types of headache (with or without aura). With respect to tenderness there was a statistically significant drop in the treated group compared to the control. In general, airflow rates in left and right nostrils were different in these subjects. However such difference was not seen in the tenderness on two sides. Nevertheless it was revealed that airflow rate has a slight negative correlation with the tenderness irrespective of the side.


Sixty-second paranasal air suction can provide an immediate pain relief for acute migraine in adolescents. We did not assess pain outcomes beyond 60 s, but the initial responses suggests the need to further study the efficacy of paranasal suction in migraine. A further study is suggested to evaluate the acute effects, efficacy and side effects of paranasal air suction using follow up over a prolong period.


Sri Lanka Clinical Trials Registry SLCTR/2017/018 , 29 Jun 2017. Retrospectively registered.


Migraine; Nostril air flow rate; Pain relief; Para nasal air suction, aura; Paranasal sinus nitric oxide

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