Headaches are a frustrating problem that affects millions of people regularly. The more severe or frequent headaches are, the worse their repercussions may be. This theory was demonstrated in a study found in the Journal of Headache and Pain, in which more than 11,000 people participated. The authors of the study concluded that:
- 87% of participants reported that migraine pain had negatively impacted their social, professional, and private lives.
- 85% reported feelings such as depression and hopelessness.
- 83% reported that migraine pain had disrupted their sleep.
If you live with frequent or even periodic migraines, you know that the symptoms can prevent you from living your best life. Migraine pain leads many people to search online for management strategies or to their doctor to discuss interventional therapies. Some try stress management; some try prescription medication. More recently, patients have explored migraine surgery to end their painful situation.
What about Botox for Migraines?
The last resort before surgery may be to have Botox injections in the area of nerve agitation. Dr. Patel works closely with his colleagues at the Headache and Neuralgia Center at Keck Medicine of USC to determine an appropriate approach for each patient. While Botox or steroid injections may relieve the problem for a time, this form of therapy does not work well for every patient. The premise of Botox migraine treatment is to minimize nerve cell signals from the brain to the muscle in the face. This softening of muscle contractions should temporarily stop painful headaches.
Mounting data suggest that most migraines, and also tension headaches, are related to peripheral nerve irritation. Peripheral nerves, including the supraorbital nerves, occipital nerves, and others, are located in the head and neck. These nerves can send distress signals that result in headache pain, and Botox may not be as effective at soothing them as we’d like.
Migraine surgery is performed to address peripheral nerve irritation and the pain it causes. Statistics indicate that over 90 percent of patients who undergo migraine surgery achieve long-lasting relief. Dr. Patel studied directly with Dr. Bahman Guyuron, the surgeon who first developed headache surgery. This microsurgery helps to prevent further nerve compression and often results in immediate improvement.
It can and should take time to decide to have headache surgery. To learn more about this beneficial treatment, contact our office at 323.442.0416. To start the process of medical intervention for migraines or other chronic headaches, schedule a consultation with a neurologist or contact the Headache and Neuralgia Center.