Fortunately, a lot, these days. Gone are the days when many treatment options failed, largely due to the unpredictable nature of migraines and the limited number of available treatments.
Migraine headaches were first recorded during the Mesopotamian Era, around 3,000 B.C. Some notable migraine sufferers throughout history include Julius Caesar, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant and Vincent Van Gogh, to name a few.
Today, while treating migraine headaches is still difficult, managing the pain of chronic migraines is more effective than it has ever been. By staying on top of the latest treatments, Coastal Orthopedics Pain Management specialists are experienced in offering relief from the blinding pain of migraine headaches. In fact, one of our physicians is part of a select group of only 520 physicians in the nation to have earned certification as a headache specialist from the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties—and is the only headache specialist in Florida with training in cervical spine injections.
Types of Migraine Treatment
Migraine treatment falls into two categories: acute and preventive. Acute treatments are those used to alleviate the pain when a migraine attack is currently happening. Preventive treatments are used on an ongoing basis, even when an attack is not occurring, in the hope that they will prevent or reduce attacks.
Coastal Orthopedics offers both acute and preventative therapies. Most acute therapies involve medications such as Maxalt®, Amerge®, Zomig® and other prescription drugs, as well as certain over-the-counter remedies. However, you may be a candidate for preventive therapies if:
- You have four or more debilitating migraines in a month
- Your migraines last more than 12 hours
- Pain-relieving medications don’t help
- Your migraines include a prolonged aura or numbness and weakness
If preventive treatments are needed, Coastal Orthopedics offers a variety of effective options, including:
1. Medications. Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants are among the medications that can be used to ward off migraine attacks. Additionally, a new medication called Aimovig™ (or erenumab) is now available. It’s a first-of-its kind medication designed to prevent migraine attacks from occurring. Given the drug’s outstanding early efficacy report, the doctors at Coastal Orthopedics are starting to use Aimovig for migraine patients.
2. Botox. Approved by the FDA since 2010, the muscle-numbing properties of Botox have proven to be successful at dulling the symptoms of chronic migraines and minimizing their frequency by up to 9 days. During each 15-minute treatment, patients receive shallow injections in key areas of the head and neck muscles. Statistically, patients have noted having eight to nine fewer migraine days per month after 24 weeks of treatment.
3. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). TENS therapy stops the transmission of pain signals to the brain and is being used not only for general pain relief, but also for a variety of other ailments, including migraine headaches. TENS is performed through a battery-operated device connected to wires with electrode pads, delivering a mild electric current through the wire directly into the main source of pain.
4. Injections. Our pain management specialists also offer several types of injections to help combat or prevent the occurrence of migraines, including:
- cervical injections
- occipital nerve stimulation
- injections in the neck to ablate and cauterize small nerves.
In addition to these preventive methods, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and knowing your typical triggers is another way to help reduce the number of migraines you suffer. Typical triggers can include:
- Salty and processed foods
- Mental and physical stress
- Changes in sleep (either too little or too much or jet lag)
- Extreme weather changes
If you’ve been suffering from migraine headaches, or if you’re not sure your chronic headaches are migraines, call Coastal Orthopedics at 941-792-1404 or request an appointment here. We’ll put our advanced treatments to work to ease or prevent migraine pain for you.