Relief for Migraine and Headache Sufferers

By: Lauren Sharett, MD, Neurologist, Thibodaux Regional Neurology Clinic

Over 37 million men, women and children suffer from migraines in the United States. Fewer than 5% have seen a healthcare provider and received an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.(1)

There are multiple types of migraines and headaches. A migraine typically presents with severe throbbing or pulsing pain on one side of the head. It is accompanied by light and sound sensitivity and possibly nausea and vomiting. A migraine can last up to days with severe pain interrupting activities of daily living. A migraine is often confused with a sinus headache. Migraine variants include retinal migraine with vision disturbance and migraine with brainstem aura. This can present with vertigo alone, without head pain, and even loss of consciousness.

There is a multitude of other headache types which can also be severe and impairing. These include tension headache, cluster headache, daily chronic headache, exertional headache and medication overuse headache.

Neck trauma or degenerative disease can underlie cervicogenic headaches. Headaches also arise from intracranial processes such as a mass or increased intracranial pressure, and injury such as concussion.

Many individuals have migraine and headache triggers such as alcohol consumption, aspartame, too much caffeine, hormonal changes in women and sleep disturbances,

You do not have to live with migraines or other headaches. There are effective treatments for all migraine and headache types. It is critical to identify a precise diagnosis to develop a tailored treatment plan for each individual. Neurologists are experts in this evaluative and customized care plan development.

Migraine treatments are available for both prevention and interruption of a migraine at the onset. There are a variety of oral medications used for migraine and other headache type prophylaxis.

More recently a class of medications called CGRP (calcium gene-related peptide), inhibitors became available. These medicines have transformed migraine treatment with countless individuals living migraine free after decades of suffering. CGRP inhibitors block a peptide in the brain thought to cause pain and inflammation during a migraine attack. These drugs also work as vasodilators, counter acting blood vessel constriction in the brain and surrounding membranes that contributes to migraine pain. CGRP inhibitor medications are available as prophylactics with monthly or quarterly injections.

Botox injections can be an extremely effective migraine headache prophylactic treatment for individuals who suffer from 15 or more migraine days per month. This involves a number of injections over the scalp and neck, performed in the clinic. The number of injection sessions and duration between varies across individuals. Botox is injected near nerves involved in migraine pain, and prevents these nerves from releasing pain messengers to the brain.

For abortive treatment there are also a variety of oral and injectable medication options. Drug choice depends on the migraine or headache type, side effect profile and contraindications.

Again, every patient needs a tailored treatment plan based on their migraine or headache type. For example, management for someone suffering from headaches due to a bulging disc in the cervical spine requires attention to the bulging disc.

Any acute onset, severe headache (the worst headache of your life or thunderclap headache), requires emergency medical attention. A change in migraine or headache frequency or character warrants a check-up with your physician.

It is 2021. You do not have to live with migraines and other headache types.

For more information about migraines and headaches, contact us at Thibodaux Regional Neurology Clinic, 985.493.3090.

(1) Accessed from