A migraine isn’t just a “severe headache.” It’s a complex neurological disorder that can produce a wide range of debilitating symptoms, including intense, throbbing head pain, disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, feelings of nausea, and even vomiting.
Whether they last for a few hours or a few days, migraines can be exhausting. A bad migraine may force you to lie still in a dark, quiet room until it passes, and after the pain finally subsides, the experience can leave you feeling weak, dizzy, or out of sorts for a while.
Here at Brooks Plastic Surgery, craniofacial specialist Christopher Brooks, MD, offers proactive solutions for patients affected by chronic migraines, ranging from effective self-care strategies to migraine surgery. Here’s what you should know.
Self-care for migraine relief
For the estimated 39 million adults and children in the United States who live with migraines, maintaining a diligent self-care routine that promotes good “headache hygiene” can go a long way in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.
You may notice improvement by implementing the following self-care strategies at home:
Know your triggers
Migraine headaches are different for everyone. Understanding the patterns of your migraine disorder is key to figuring out the factors or circumstances that trigger your headaches in the first place.
Keep a detailed record of your migraines to determine whether certain foods, high stress levels, lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations, seasonal changes, or anything else plays a likely role in the onset of your symptoms.
Maintain a routine
Inconsistent daily patterns can lead to more frequent or intense migraines. A steady, balanced routine — one that includes regular mealtimes, consistent hydration, a reliable sleep schedule, and daily exercise — can mean having fewer, shorter, or less severe migraines.
Mitigate daily stressors
Migraines and stress are strongly linked. In fact, uncontrolled stress is a major trigger for most adults who live with a migraine disorder.
While finding ways to simplify your life can help you get rid of unnecessary stressors, it’s just as important to learn how to recognize and control the stressors that exist as a normal part of life.
Medical treatments for migraine
When self-care strategies don’t control your migraine disorder as well as you’d like, you may benefit from medical intervention. Numerous treatment options — both conventional and alternative — are available for persistent migraines. Leading evidence-based solutions include:
Medication is a proven way to both treat migraines and prevent them. Your personal treatment plan may include acute medication you can take to alleviate symptoms during an attack or preventive medication you take daily to reduce their frequency.
Botulinum toxin, also known as Botox, is a highly purified protein derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In small doses, this potent neurotoxin becomes a therapeutic agent that can help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines over time.
Migraine intervention surgery aims to reduce migraine occurrence, duration, and intensity by targeting the sensory nerves, or trigger points, around your forehead and face that activate and sustain your migraine headaches.
During this outpatient procedure, Dr. Brooks locates constricted trigger points in your head and uses a specialized surgical instrument to physically decompress them. Main trigger point sites are above the eyes (frontal) and over the temples (temporal). Other sites are along the nose or behind the eyes (rhinogenic) or at the back of the head (occipital).
Your personal migraine solution
Most people affected by chronic migraines attain some amount of relief through a combination of consistent self-care and targeted medical intervention. Unfortunately, even the most reliable strategies don’t always provide complete relief.
If diligent self-care practices and conservative medical treatments aren’t working well enough for you or have stopped working as well as they used to, migraine surgery may be right for you.
As a leading authority on surgical intervention for migraine disorders, Dr. Brooks can evaluate your current interventions, check your trigger points for obvious signs of compression, help you understand your treatment options, and work with you to determine the best path forward.
Call 954-256-5838 to learn more about migraine surgery at our Hollywood, Florida, office today, or click online to schedule a visit with Dr. Brooks any time.