Migraines typically cause severe, pulsating pain on one side of the head. A “chronic migraine” diagnosis is specific: amongst other symptoms, one must experience 15 or more headache days per month.
What Causes Chronic Migraines?
A “chronic migraine” diagnosis is dependent on the frequency of migraines, and not on the type of symptoms or headache triggers. As a result, the triggers for chronic migraine sufferers completely overlap with non-chronic migraine sufferers, including:
- Specific types of food
- Certain medications
- Insufficient sleep or too much sleep
- Environmental exposures
Anatomically, there are four “triggers” – or nerve areas where the migraine can start (on one or both sides):
- Nose (usually felt behind the eye)
Importantly, migraine triggers vary patient-to-patient. For those who believe they are suffering from migraines, it is important to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment from a primary care doctor or neurologist.
Chronic Migraine Symptoms
In addition to pain, chronic migraine sufferers can experience any of the classic or common migraine symptoms, including:
- Phonophobia (sensitivity to sound)
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms along with headache pain should meet with a doctor to see if a chronic migraine diagnosis is appropriate. At this point, a doctor should discuss lifestyle changes that can help decrease the frequency of migraines, and may prescribe any number of a selection of migraine medications, as well.
What Migraine Medications Are Available?
Common medications used to treat chronic migraines include:
- Calcium Channel Blockers
The overall effectiveness of migraine medications varies based on the individual, his or her migraine symptoms and other factors. If migraine medications cause intolerable side effects or fail to address an individual’s chronic migraine symptoms, a neurologist consultation is generally recommended.
Can Chronic Migraines Be Treated Without Medication?
In addition to taking migraine medications, there are several lifestyle changes that may limit the frequency of migraines, including:
- Obtaining sufficient sleep
- Decreasing caffeine intake
- Eating regular meals
- Avoiding migraine-triggering foods or environments
- Reducing stress
Ultimately, taking a proactive approach to chronic migraines is key. If a person receives a chronic migraine diagnosis but finds that his or her current medications are ineffective or cause unwanted side effects, a consultation with Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute may be ideal.
Dr. Cabin’s Approach to Chronic Migraines
Dr. Cabin is a board-certified head and neck surgeon with dual subspecialty training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. This expertise allows Dr. Cabin to take a holistic approach to chronic migraines and help patients achieve long-term migraine pain relief.
To treat chronic migraines, Dr. Cabin performs a detailed patient consultation, including reviewing medical history. If indicated, Dr. Cabin will recommend specific testing. Using this patient data Dr. Cabin can offer a personalized treatment recommendation.
In some instances, Dr. Cabin recommends minimally invasive migraine surgery to treat chronic migraines. Or, in other cases, Dr. Cabin recommends Botox for chronic migraines. Dr. Cabin will review how chronic migraine treatment works and works to incorporate specific patient concerns and questions.
Schedule a Chronic Migraine Treatment Consultation with Dr. Cabin Today
To set up a chronic migraine treatment consultation with Dr. Cabin, please call us today at 310.461.0303.