Patients who suffer from Migraine Headaches are often a perplexing challenge for healthcare providers. Headaches lead to a startling level of disability, decreased productivity and missed days from work. Treating Migraine Headaches is a challenge as there isn’t one treatment that works for all patients. The good news for Migraine sufferers, there has been tremendous strides in the research and treatment options.
First, everyone with new onset of Headaches needs to have a formal initial workup by a neurologist to diagnose their headache. After the diagnosis of Migraine is made, either a neurologist or a combination of a neurologist and an interventional pain specialist can treat the symptoms.
A traditional first line of treatment is to identify any triggers. There is a range of initial medications used from abortive medications if patients have only a few Migraines per month, to preventive medications if patients have greater than 6 Migraines per month.
There are a few interventional procedures for Migraine treatment that can be quite successful for the treatment of Migraines. Botox for Migraine can be performed every 3 months to decrease the frequency and intensity of headaches. An interventional treatment, performed only by interventional pain specialists, is a Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block. We have found SPG blocks specifically effective for Migraine Headaches, atypical facial pain and cluster headaches.
When treating any type of headache it is also very important to treat any underlying anxiety and depression related issues that can complicate treatment.
You may not like to hear this, but we DO NOT treat headaches with narcotic medication. We especially avoid using daily narcotic medications for Migraines as it will lead to rebound headache phenomenon. We also require our headache patients to eliminate nicotine, caffeine and all sodas from their regimen.
A few helpful supplements for headache patients include: Magnesium, Coq10 and Vitamin B2. We also recommend mindfulness apps like Headspace and Stop Breathe Think to help with headache management.
There is exciting news in the treatment of Migraines as a new pathway for the treatment of Migraines will have options on the market later this year. Medication focused on the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) will be yet another tool in the treatment box for patients.
If you suffer from Migraine headaches and have not tried all the treatments above seek help and don’t give up. There is a cure for your headaches!