3 Solutions for Migraines You May Not Have Tried

Migraines have a way of hijacking your life, sending you into a dark, quiet space to wait them out. Unfortunately, more than 38 million people in the United States are affected by migraines and 2-3 million of them are chronic sufferers.

If your life is affected by debilitating and painful migraines, there are several treatments that may provide you with a much-needed reprieve from the head pain and associated symptoms, allowing you a better quality of life.

At Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles, our team of interventional pain management specialists, led by Dr. Edward J. O’Connor and Dr. Russ Shimizu, has extensive experience helping patients in the Santa Monica area take back control of their lives. If you’re stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of migraine headaches, here’s a look at three treatment solutions that may provide you with the relief you need.

1. Peripheral nerve blocks

Migraines remain a bit of a medical mystery. There’s no cure for the condition, but great headway is being made in identifying the nerves that are involved in migraine head pain. With peripheral nerve blocks, we go in and interrupt the overactive pain signals being sent to your brain during a migraine.

The two main nerve groups we target are your occipital nerves near the back of your head and your trigeminal nerve branches, which are located above your eyebrows and near your temples. The injection we use contains a local anesthetic to numb the pain and, if necessary, a steroid to reduce inflammation.

 

The injection goes to work immediately in quieting the nerves, and a successful nerve block can offer you several days, or even weeks, of relief. For many patients, each time we perform a peripheral nerve block, the results improve.

2. Trigger point injections

Trigger points are areas in your muscles that are excessively tight and irritated (think muscle knots), which can cause both localized and referred pain. With migraines, these trigger points are often located in your head, neck, and shoulders. By addressing these specific points of tension with trigger point injections, we’re able to release the muscle knot and eliminate the referred pain at the same time

A trigger point injection contains much the same ingredients that we use for nerve blocks, which is to say, a local anesthetic and a steroid. The local anesthetic goes to work immediately to reduce the pain and relax your muscle, while the steroid works to reduce any inflammation in the area. If inflammation isn’t a concern, we may simply use an anesthetic only.

If you’re sensitive to certain medications, we can also try dry trigger point injections, in which we use a needle without medication to release your trigger points.

Many of our patients experience both immediate relief and protection for several weeks, or even months. Since trigger point injection therapy is so well-tolerated, you simply return for a follow-up treatment should your migraine pain return.

3. Xeomin® injections

While you may know Xeomin from the cosmetic world, this botulinum toxin is also used to reduce the frequency of headaches for chronic migraine sufferers. The main ingredient of Xeomin is incobotulinumtoxinA, which temporarily reduces the muscle contractions in your head and blocks your nerves from transmitting pain signals. In effect, Xeomin works to prevent migraine headaches from developing in the first place.

For the best results, we inject several key areas in your head and neck with small doses of Xeomin. The effect typically lasts up to 12 weeks, at which point you return for another round.

If you’d like to try one of these proven solutions for migraine pain, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

 

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