A migraine causes severe pulsating or throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. Migraine pain may linger between two hours and three days, and it often is associated with nausea, vomiting and other physical symptoms. This pain can slow a person down, and as a result, make it tough for an individual to live life to the fullest. This is especially true for people who suffer from recurring migraines.
The Migraine Research Foundation notes 39 million Americans experience migraine symptoms annually, and nearly one in four U.S. households includes a person who is dealing with migraines. Additionally, the Migraine Research Foundation indicates that more than 4 million people face chronic daily migraines, with a minimum of 15 migraine days per month.
Clearly, migraines are problematic. Yet many migraine sufferers fail to receive proper migraine diagnosis and treatment – something that makes it virtually impossible for these individuals to address migraine triggers and symptoms.
Take Chole, a frequent migraine sufferer who has been dealing with migraines for 33 years. After Chole experienced her first migraine at the age of 7, she tried Advil®, Tylenol® and other pain -relieving medications as part of her attempts to mitigate her migraine symptoms. At age 10, Chole was given a preventative migraine medication, but the medication proved to be more trouble than it was worth. “[The medication] made me groggy the next day and actually gave me migraines,” she said.
At age 16, Chole took Imitrex, a sumatriptan medication that she used for about 10 years. Imitrex originally enabled Chole to enjoy temporary migraine relief. But Chole eventually developed a tolerance to Imitrex. At this point, Chole would take Imitrex to help reduce her migraine symptoms, yet the medication’s effectiveness would wear off after a few hours. And when Chole’s migraine symptoms returned, they would come back with a vengeance. “I would get every … side effect from Imitrex [from] feeling really spacey, to tingling on my forehead, to feeling like I had a sunburn,” Chole states.
Chole is one of many migraine sufferers who has been forced to deal with ineffective migraine medications. Now, imagine what her life might have been like had she been able to address her migraine symptoms at a young age without having to rely on medication. If Chole had been able to identify the triggers of her migraine symptoms, she likely would not have been forced to deal with the side effects of various migraine medications. Perhaps best of all, Chole could have enjoyed long-term migraine relief – the end goal of migraine sufferers.
Dr. Jonathan Cabin, a board-certified head and neck surgeon with dual-subspecialty training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, understands Chole’s story is similar to the stories of many other migraine sufferers. He also recognizes that “rebound migraines” are worrisome for many migraine patients who are struggling to find the right migraine treatment.
In Chole’s situation, several medications provided short-term migraine relief. But when the medications’ effectiveness wore off, Chole would once again experience migraine symptoms. And in some cases, these migraine symptoms were worse than ever before.
For Dr. Cabin, finding the best ways to deliver long-term migraine relief to men, women and children who are dealing with migraines is essential. To help migraine sufferers, Dr. Cabin takes a comprehensive and personalized approach to identify migraine triggers in patients. He also provides a wide range of migraine treatment options such as Botox and migraine surgery.
Migraine Triggers, Diagnosis and Prevention
There are four anatomical migraine trigger areas:
- Forehead: Patients experience migraines coming from above the eye or on the forehead, either on one side or both.
- Temples: Patients experience migraines coming from their temple area, either on one side or both.
- Nose: Patients experience migraines coming from behind their eye, either on one side or both. They also may experience cold symptoms such as congestion (stuffiness) and runny nose.
- Neck: Patients experience migraines coming from the back of their neck, either on one side or both.
How migraines are identified and addressed usually depends on the individual. In many instances, a migraine sufferer will consult with a primary care doctor or visit an emergency room. Conversely, in-depth migraine diagnosis requires a neurologist to closely examine a migraine sufferer’s medical history.
Unfortunately, a migraine sufferer’s medical history is frequently overlooked during a migraine consultation, according to Dr. Cabin. But if a migraine sufferer understands migraine symptoms and tracks them consistently, this individual may be better equipped than ever before to identify and address such problems.
All patients must have a chronic migraine diagnosis from a neurologist before Dr. Cabin will offer treatment. This means that the patient must already be dealing with chronic migraines and have tried medications that are not working or cause side effects without providing the desired relief before meeting with Dr. Cabin. Once these two criteria are confirmed, Dr. Cabin will send his patients a series of forms to collect their migraine history, including details about the migraine frequency, length and location in the body.
Additionally, during a patient’s office visit with Dr. Cabin, a comprehensive physical exam will be performed. A patient also may undergo specialized testing, like a Doppler ultrasound or a CT scan. All of this information will be used to decide whether a patient is a suitable candidate for Botox or migraine surgery. If the patient qualifies, for either, Dr. Cabin will customize the treatment to a patient’s specific migraine triggers.
Dr. Cabin pays careful attention to a patient’s medical history and encourages each patient to track migraines over the course of a month. He asks patients to monitor how often they experience migraine symptoms and the severity of these symptoms, along with other factors. With this patient data, Dr. Cabin can work with a migraine sufferer to pinpoint migraine triggers, resulting in a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan. Dr. Cabin then evaluates a patient to figure out where a migraine trigger is physically located. This will determine Dr. Cabin’s treatment recommendation.
At The Migraine Institute, Dr. Cabin’s goal is to ensure that patients receive the safest, most-effective treatment for their migraines. Determining whether a patient is a surgical candidate and what sites to treat can take a few weeks or even months. During this time, a patient may receive various specialized testing or injections that allow Dr. Cabin to customize the very best surgical treatment.
Many long-term treatment options are available to help migraine sufferers overcome migraine symptoms. In fact, Botox and migraine surgery are safe, effective migraine treatments that have been shown to help patients achieve long-term migraine relief, ultimately improving their quality of life.
Migraine Treatment Options: Botox and Surgery
Chole is one of many migraine sufferers to reap the benefits of Botox for migraines. With assistance from Dr. Cabin, Chole has received Botox treatments that have worked “like a miracle,” she states.
Botox treatments are commonly associated with facial plastic and reconstructive surgery – not migraines. Dr. Cabin, however, points out that Botox treatments have been used to successfully treat migraines for many years. Some of the key things that migraine sufferers should know about Botox treatments include:
- Botox is an FDA-approved treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox for migraines in 2010. Since that time, thousands of migraine sufferers have received Botox injections to treat migraine symptoms.
- Botox is a precise migraine treatment. The FDA has established guidelines for the amount of Botox that migraine patients can receive, the application of Botox and much more. As such, Dr. Cabin follows strict guidelines and uses a targeted approach to administer Botox treatments to migraine sufferers.
- Botox delivers proven results. Cabin provides Botox injections in specific areas that he knows are migraine triggers for patients. He helps a patient determine individual migraine triggers – like the neck, for example – and administers Botox injections into a migraine trigger point to help the patient get the best possible treatment results.
Surgery also is an option for migraines. Dr. Cabin uses advanced surgical techniques that are tailored to a patient’s specific migraine triggers. These techniques are designed to permanently remove or at a minimum reduce the faulty nerves that can cause migraines to occur.
Dr. Cabin says over 90 percent of migraine patients notice a significant reduction in the frequency, duration and/or intensity of their migraines after Botox injections or surgery. Meanwhile, nearly 50 percent of migraine patients find themselves migraine-free within a few months of treatment. “Not everyone will get ‘cured,'” Dr. Cabin states. “[But] if you talk to most people with migraines, the medications they’ve been on and the lifestyle changes they’ve made have also never cured them. So [Botox and surgery are] not, at least, any worse than those treatments. And a lot of times, they’re much better.”
When it comes to deciding between Botox and surgery for migraines, it is important to note that there is no surefire, quick-fix solution for migraine symptoms. But unlike most migraine treatments, Botox and surgery for migraines are designed to deliver long-lasting migraine relief. They may even help a migraine sufferer maintain a healthy lifestyle without having to worry about taking different medications to limit migraine symptoms. “I’m not taking medications, and I just come and see Dr. Cabin every three to four months and get some Botox, and it’s really made a difference in my lifestyle,” Chole says.
By reaching out to Dr. Cabin, a migraine sufferer can move one step closer to identifying migraine triggers and receiving the ideal treatment to address the individual migraine symptoms. To find out more about Botox and surgery for migraines, please contact us today at 310.461.0303 to set up a consultation with Dr. Cabin.