What Can I Do About Chronic Migraines?

Defined as 15 or more migraines a month, chronic migraines can be nothing short of debilitating and disabling. Many chronic migraine sufferers report that the condition significantly diminishes their quality of life. It can often seem like an endless cycle of good days followed by those in which you barely feel like you can get out of bed. With such dim daily prospects, it’s no surprise that chronic migraines are associated with sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for chronic migraine sufferers. Treatments exist that can help you overcome chronic migraines and get your health back on track. Use this blog as a guide for what you can about chronic migraines.

When you suffer from chronic migraines, you need a great pain management team on your side. At Premier Spine & Pain Management, Dr. Arun Kandra, Dr. Vivek Das, and the rest of our team will provide you with the care you deserve. We’re dedicated to helping you overcome your chronic migraines with effective and innovative pain management solutions.

Chronic migraine facts

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, the third most prevalent illness in the world is migraines. In the United States, about 12 million people suffer from migraines and four million deal with chronic migraines. Although often associated with headaches, migraines are far worse. More than 90% of migraine sufferers are unable to work or normally function during their migraine.

More than 20% of chronic migraine patients are classified as disabled, with many also having other chronic conditions that increase their daily pain and hardship.

Migraine causes

At this time, there is no known cause for migraines. Blood vessel constriction and dilation were long thought to hold the key, but researchers have recently reclassified migraines as a neurological disorder. This means that migraines are more centered on the brain, spine, and the nerve pathways that connect them.

Migraine triggers can vary greatly, from emotional stress to certain strong smells or loud noises. Hormone level changes can also trigger migraines, and menstruation may be a reason that more than 85% of chronic migraine sufferers are women.

Headache symptoms usually last 4-72 hours. About two-thirds of all migraines affect only one side of the head.

Treating chronic migraines

Lifestyle changes

As with most illnesses and disorders, a few lifestyle changes may help alleviate your symptoms. If you have yet to identify your migraine triggers, look into keeping a migraine diary. A diary can help put your migraines into perspective and establish what occurs before, during, and after the pain. After you’ve identified triggers, find ways to avoid or mitigate your contact with them.

When it comes to food and drink, eliminating alcohol may help. A healthy diet heavy in vitamins and fresh food may also work to decrease migraine days. Finally, look to treatments meant to relax and reduce tension. Many patients find success in massages, acupuncture, and biofeedback therapy.

Medication

Botox®, most famous for its use in aesthetics and plastic surgery, is actually the only FDA-approved treatment for chronic migraines. Botulism toxin, the basis of Botox, is a neurotoxin. When injected into areas around the head and neck, it can block the pain signals that cause chronic migraines. Studies have shown that chronic migraine patients had more pain-free days after using Botox. They also had to take less time off work. 

Other medications, though not specifically approved for chronic migraines, may help. Anti-seizure and anti-depression drugs have also shown positive results. These medications may help regulate the hormonal changes that have been shown to trigger migraines.

While chronic migraines may sometimes feel permanent, there are ways to achieve more pain-free days. We can help you reach your goals. Book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine & Pain Management today.

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