Special Interest Section Profile: Procedural Headache Medicine

The American Headache Society is home to a diverse array of Special Interest Sections that connect members with shared expertise and interest to collaborate on research efforts, develop practice models and provide multidisciplinary participation in support of the Society’s mission.

The goals of the Special Interest Section focused on Procedural Headache Medicine are closely aligned with AHS’s mission to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas about causes and treatments of headache disorders. With an emphasis placed on peripheral nerve blocks and other interventional procedures for headache management, the Procedural Headache Medicine Section works to standardize and improve the field’s best practices for interventional headache management methods while simultaneously pursuing new information to advance our understanding of this suite of treatment options.

We spoke with Section Chair Jessica Ailani, MD, FAHS about the group’s current and ongoing work, and their vision for the future.

Name of Section Chair

Jessica Ailani, MD, FAHS

Name of Special Interest Section

Procedural Headache Medicine

Number of Members


How is this Special Interest Section making an impact in the field of Headache Medicine?

We have been training health care providers in how to perform headache procedures at various meetings for several years with the hope that we are able to bring procedures that can help patients with headache find relief to a broader patient group. We also have produced a number of articles that help healthcare providers understand how, why, and when to use a variety of procedures in headache medicine.

What are some recent projects your section has been a part of?

We recently conducted a survey of AHS membership on the use of sphenopalatine blocks in headache disorders. We also compiled a database of patients who have received nerve blocks for headache disorders. Currently, we’re working on creating a database of patients who receive nerve blocks for the treatment of post-traumatic headache. Continued patient education on available procedures used in headache medicine is an ongoing priority for us, as is updating the Society’s membership site to include citations of key articles on procedures in headache. We’re also working to providing more resources for members, like sample letters that can be used with insurance companies.

What are the future goals of this Special Interest Section?

In addition to our ongoing initiatives mentioned above, we’re working to increase the number of placebo-controlled trials focused on nerve blocks for the prevention and treatment of acute migraine as well as for post-traumatic headache. Our advocacy goals focus on providing up-to-date resources to AHS members on best-evidence medicine, and maintaining open communications with insurance companies to allow for greater access to procedures for headache patients.

What is the mission of your Special Interest Section?
Our overall mission is to improve the care of patients with headache disorders by providing the best available evidence and training to health care providers for the use of procedures in headache medicine.

Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of the American Headache Society, and we’re grateful to the Procedural Headache Medicine Section for actively working to advance those goals. By working tirelessly to set, maintain and update our standards of practice for interventional headache treatments, the members of this special interest section are ensuring that the American Headache Society and its members will remain at the forefront of emerging headache treatment technologies.

If you are an AHS member who would like to get involved in the Procedural Headache Medicine Special Interest Section, get in touch. If you represent an AHS Special Interest Section and would like to be featured in a future profile, please complete this form.

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