About Migraine Treatments
Traditional migraine treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes, alternative therapies, and medications. Migraine patients generally have “prophylactic” medications to help prevent migraines, “abortive” medications to stop or slow migraines when they are just starting, and “rescue” medications to treat migraine symptoms, like pain and nausea, during an active migraine. When these traditional migraine medications become ineffective or cause intolerable side effects, a patient may be a candidate for Botox or surgery.
Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute is a board-certified head and neck surgeon with dual-subspecialty training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. He helps patients uncover migraine nerve triggers and offers customized treatment plans designed to deliver long-term migraine relief.
What Types of Migraine Treatments Are Available?
The Migraine Institute offers the following migraine treatments:
- Minimally Invasive Migraine Surgery:: Migraine surgery helps permanently remove faulty nerve signals, or migraine triggers, that can lead to migraines.
- Botox®: Botox® for migraines temporarily blocks these faulty nerve signals that can trigger migraines.
The ideal migraine treatment depends exclusively on the individual patient. This frequently includes Botox and/or surgery, but can also include lifestyle changes.
Dr. Cabin helps patients weigh the pros and cons of different migraine treatments and ensures each patient understands what to expect during and after treatment.
Does My Migraine Need to Be Treated?
A migraine is more than just a traditional headache. In fact, migraine sufferers frequently experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Moderate-to-severe pain
- Pain one side of the head
- Pulsating quality of pain
- Tingling in the arms or legs
- Vision changes
- Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Worsening pain with physical activity
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is important to meet with a neurologist to discuss a migraine diagnosis. For individuals who have received a chronic migraine diagnosis from a neurologist and find their current medications are not addressing their migraine triggers or have unbearable side effects, Dr. Cabin can help. He will perform a comprehensive evaluation and determine if there is one or more physical migraine trigger. If a trigger is found, Dr. Cabin can provide a personalized treatment recommendation that can reduce or eliminate migraines over the long-term.
Can I Treat a Migraine on My Own?
There are many ways that an individual can address migraine pain on his or her own. These include:
- Practice Muscle Relaxation Exercises: Yoga, meditation and other muscle relaxation exercises may provide short-term migraine pain relief.
- Develop a Consistent Sleep Routine: A regular sleep routine that includes going to bed and waking up at consistent times often helps individuals overcome migraine symptoms.
- Relax in a Dark, Quiet Setting: If an individual starts to experience a headache, it may be beneficial to rest in a dark, quiet setting until the headache pain subsides.
- Use an Ice Pack: Applying an ice pack that is wrapped in a cloth to the back of the neck and painful areas of the scalp may help an individual alleviate migraine pain.
Additionally, alternative medicine treatments sometimes are used to address migraine pain. These treatments include:
- Acupuncture: Clinical trials have shown that acupuncture needles that are inserted into different areas of the skin may help individuals relieve migraine pain.
- Massage Therapy: In some instances, massage therapy helps patients reduce the frequency of migraines.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that teaches individuals how their behaviors and thoughts impact their perception of pain. It may provide individuals with insights so they can change their behaviors and thoughts to minimize migraine pain.
The aforementioned migraine treatments are viable options for many individuals, yet they fail to address all migraines, at all times. As such, after an initial migraine consultation with a doctor, a patient may receive medications designed to treat migraine symptoms.
Are Migraine Medications Effective?
There are two types of medications that may be prescribed to treat migraine symptoms: pain-relieving and preventative. Pain-relieving medications, also referred to as acute or abortive treatments, are designed to stop migraines as they happen. Preventative medications often are taken daily and are designed to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines over time.
Common pain-relieving migraine medications include:
- Pain Relievers: Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and other pain relievers may be used to treat mild migraine symptoms.
- Triptans: Triptans help relieve migraine pain by causing blood vessels to constrict and blocking pain pathways in the brain.
- Ergots: Ergotamine and caffeine combination drugs sometimes are used to treat individuals who experience migraine pain that lasts 48 hours or longer.
Common preventative migraine medications include:
- Beta Blockers: Beta blockers are frequently used to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease and have been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants help individuals manage the levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals to reduce migraine frequency.
- Anti-Seizure Drugs: In some cases, anti-seizure drugs reduce the frequency of migraines in adults.
Migraine medications may prove to be the first treatment options provided by a doctor to help a patient address migraine pain, but medications can be problematic. In fact, migraine medications may be ineffective and fail to help a patient alleviate his or her migraine symptoms. Perhaps even worse, migraine medications may cause unwanted side effects, such as:
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
If an individual experiences receives a chronic migraine diagnosis and finds that his or her migraine medications are ineffective or cause unwanted side effects, Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute can help. Dr. Cabin helps chronic migraine patients explore safe, effective migraine treatments. By doing so, Dr. Cabin enables migraine patients to achieve long-term migraine pain relief.
Migraine Treatment FAQ
Which is better: Botox for migraines or migraine surgery?
There is no one-size-fits-all migraine treatment. Therefore, some patients may benefit from Botox for migraines, and others may alleviate migraine pain thanks to surgery. In some cases, patients may require both Botox and surgical treatments to address migraine pain.
Ultimately, it is important to receive a full evaluation prior to determining which migraine treatment will help a patient alleviate his or her migraine symptoms. During a patient consultation, Dr. Cabin requests information about a patient’s medical history and symptoms and conducts a patient examination. Also, Dr. Cabin often requests that a patient maintain a migraine journal and performs other patient tests. Dr. Cabin’s comprehensive approach to migraine treatment helps him determine the best way for a patient to achieve long-term migraine pain relief.
What tests are performed to determine if a patient is a candidate for Botox for migraines or minimally invasive surgery?
Dr. Cabin collects most of the information to determine if a patient is a candidate for Botox for migraines or minimally invasive surgery during an initial consultation. Additionally, to verify a migraine trigger site location, Dr. Cabin may perform one or more of the following tests:
- CT scan
- Doppler ultrasound
- Nasal spray
- Botox injection(s)
- Nerve block injection(s)
- Examination by other specialists
Dr. Cabin strives to provide custom treatment programs for patients based on their migraine symptoms. He is happy to respond to any concerns or questions about migraine treatments and ensures each patient understands exactly what to expect from Botox and surgical treatment options.
Is migraine surgery effective?
To date, approximately 90% of patients have experienced a significant reduction in the frequency, duration and/or intensity of their migraines following surgery, and nearly 50% were migraine-free within a few months of surgery.
Schedule a Migraine Treatment Consultation Today
Dr. Cabin helps migraine patients find the best treatment based on their personal needs. To set up a consultation with Dr. Cabin, please call us at 310.461.0303 or fill out our online form.