When you research Botox and surgery for migraine headaches, there is a lot of discussion about “trigger points.” But what is a trigger point, and why are they significant?
A trigger point is a place on a patient’s face, neck or scalp that has been associated with the onset of migraine pain for that patient. The patient will describe the pain as “starting from” this area, and will sometimes even have tenderness when they push on this spot. Several common trigger points have been described, and each is associated with a specific sensory nerve (a nerve that allows us to feel touch, pressure, pain, etc.). Some patients have multiple trigger points, with different migraines coming from one of a few different places.
Trigger points are important because, for people that have them, they are thought to set off the migraine. Don’t get me wrong: migraines happen inside the brain. But there is evidence to suggest that this “brain pain” can be triggered by one or more of these sensory nerves outside the brain. The sensory nerve is irritated and, like dominos, one thing leads to another and the brain reacts.
In working up a patient for surgery, it is important to get an accurate accounting of the patient’s trigger points. This is accomplished by obtaining a detailed history of the migraines, and using various diagnostic methods (including Botox) to confirm the location of a trigger point. Once one or more trigger points is confirmed, the goal of surgery is to create space for the related sensory nerve so it is no longer irritated by elements around it.
Find Out Your Trigger Points
If you suffer from migraine headaches and are still trying to figure out what causes them, The Migraine Institute can help you. Please call us today to schedule your consultation with migraine surgery expert Dr Jonathan Cabin – 310.461.0303.