For migraine sufferers, the onset of a headache means more than just inconvenience. The incredible pain associated with migraines can be significantly debilitating and leave you weak and incapable of functioning properly. But how do you know when it’s time to consider migraine surgery? These indicators will help you to determine whether the time is right to schedule a consultation for surgery:
Indicator #1: Your Headaches Have become Chronic
A migraine headache that occurs once or twice a year is unpleasant, but most likely not unbearable. Chronic migraine, however, gets worse as time passes, and tends to happen with an increasing frequency. If any (or all) of these criteria apply to you, you could be a candidate for migraine surgery:
- You get migraine headaches or tension headaches on 15 days or more per month, for three months or longer
- Your headache occurs on one side of your head only
- You experience pulsating headache pain
- Your headaches become worse when you do routine physical activity
- The headaches cause you to develop nausea and/or vomiting takes place
- You become sensitive to light and sound during the headache
If this sounds like you, it’s time to get a professional diagnosis about your headaches. Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men, so take gender into consideration when you’re evaluating your situation.
Indicator #2: You’re Concerned about the Health Risks of Your Headaches
If you’ve been having migraines for several years or more, you could be at risk for a range of medical issues resulting from the pain. Although there’s no scientific evidence to prove that migraines cause memory loss or cognitive problems in patients, it has been shown to increase the risk for stroke. Specifically, patients with a history of migraine with aura have double the risk for ischemic strokes. These happen when a blood vessel in the patient’s brain is blocked, stopping the supply of blood to a section of the brain.
Indicator #3: You Need Information about Your Migraines
To be able to manage your migraines as effectively as possible you need to know what you’re dealing with. There’s no better way to get the specific information you need than to consult with a healthcare professional that specializes in your condition. A migraine surgery practitioner will be able to provide you with details such as:
- Why migraines occur and how they typically behave
- Symptoms, such as depression and neck stiffness, vision loss and nausea attacks
- Stages of the migraine, including prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome phases
- Risk factors that can predispose you to chronic migraine, such as family history, age, gender and hormonal changes.
You’ll also be able to get detailed information about potential complications of migraine headaches and how to avoid these from developing.
Indicator #4: You Want to Explore Migraine Surgery Options
Migraine surgery is a fairly new method of treating chronic sufferers, and it has exciting possibilities for patients. If you’ve tried almost every other option and had limited or no success, it could be time to consider taking a more direct approach to your problem.
When you schedule a migraine surgery consultation, your provider will begin by conducting a physical exam and interviewing you about your migraine headaches. You’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire to provide details about your family history and your migraine attacks, and you might be instructed to keep a daily log about your symptoms for a period.
Your migraine surgery practitioner will discuss the various types of surgical treatment with you, to determine which option might be the best one for you. During the selection process, you’ll have the chance to evaluate the M.I.S.O.N. and M.I.G.O.N.E. options as well as the septoplasty procedure and the BOTOX alternatives.
Your provider may decide to give you a steroid or BOTOX injection as a test, to determine how well your headaches respond to the treatment. You’ll then be required to keep a diary about your experience in the weeks following the test.
At this point you and your migraine surgeon will be able to decide whether you are a candidate for the surgery and how best to proceed.
Deciding to take the first step on your new journey is exciting and challenging, even if it’s a little nerve-racking. If you are experiencing any of the indicators, it could be time to make the choice to consult with a migraine surgery professional. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.