Chronic Migraine: A Closer Look
What is Chronic Migraine?
Chronic Migraine is a headache that occurs 15 or more days a month with headache lasting 4 hours or longer for at least 3 consecutive months. People with Chronic Migraine may spend half their month living with headaches that significantly impact their function and quality of life.
Migraine headaches may involve triggers and associated symptoms. Migraine may be associated with:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and/or smell
Over a 3-month period, people with Chronic Migraine are more likely than those with occasional migraine to miss 5 or more days of: work or school, household work, and family activities.
How are Chronic Migraines treated?
Most treatment options for chronic migraine are either acute or preventive medications. Acute medications are taken to stop the headache pain once it has begun. Preventive medications are taken on a regular basis with the goal being to reduce frequency and severity of migraine episodes. Additional treatments include avoidance of headache triggers, therapeutic exercise, and behavioral pain management.
For individuals who have not achieved management of their migraines with oral medications, OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) has been shown to be helpful in treating chronic migraine headaches in adults. During this procedure, injections are made in muscles of the forehead and neck. When this is effective, treatment usually needs to be repeated every 12 weeks.
What Can I Expect at my Visit?
At our clinic we use an integrative approach to evaluation and treatment of Chronic Migraine. Treatment focuses on reducing the severity and frequency of migraines to improve activity tolerance and quality of life. We discuss the patient’s migraine history, treatment options, and goal setting. Patients complete a migraine diary before and after Botox therapy to track his or her response to the treatment.
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