Migraine headaches are common, affecting 17% of women, and 8% of men. These headaches are defined by several characteristics and have many types of treatment. Migraine headaches are usually stronger on one side, have a slow throbbing character, and are often associated with light or sound sensitivity and nausea or vomiting. During attacks, people are often very sensitive to any stimulation, and often complain of their hair even being sensitive to touch.
Individuals who suffer from migraines often have a positive family history of headaches, and often are able to identify triggers that may precipitate an attack. Common triggers are menstrual periods, alcohol, chocolate, and some cheeses. Stress, lack of sleep, and a change in sleep patterns such as with a time zone change can all be triggers for migraines, as can seasonal or weather changes.
Imaging studies and examinations are typically normal in those suffering from migraines. The physician who treats you must spend time to elicit an accurate and detailed history, as most identifying characteristics are discovered here.
Treatments for headaches can consist of over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Advil, or Excedrin. Many prescription medications are available that have the greatest effectiveness. Medications have been developed that specifically binds with the 5HT2 receptor in the brain that is felt to be the migraine switch. These medications are called “triptans” as a group as their generic name all ends in these syllables. Sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig), almotriptan (Maxalt), eletriptan (Relpax) are all examples. These medications are taken orally, some have nasal spray or injectable options for those whose nausea prevents pills from being effective. There are also several medications that can be used on a daily basis to prevent or decrease the frequency and severity of migraines. Beta blockers and amitriptyline have been around for many years, Topiramate and Depakote have formal FDA indications and are the most effective. Botox also is effective in many individuals, given as 31 small injections over the face and head every 90 days.
**In late 2018, several medications were approved that work through a novel approach, blocking the CGRP (calcitonin gene related peptide) receptor or ligands that bind to this receptor. Aimovig, Ajovy, and Egality are their names, they are given as once monthly injections. Side effects are minimal and they work in most individuals. Insurance generally requires a failure of one or two of the above mentioned oral medications before approving these. At least four migraines a month must be documented to qualify. Each company is offering the medication for up to 12 months free while insurance approval is processed.
The staff at NervePro has many years of experience in treating this condition, and can help make a diagnosis and develop an individual plan of attack to manage this condition. There are many treatment options, and it is rare that a plan can’t be found to help one’s suffering.
NervePro is not currently enrolling people into a migraine study.