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Get Relief for Your Chronic Migraines with Innovative Treatment Options

Get Relief for Your Chronic Migraines with Innovative Treatment Options

Chronic migraine headaches are a complex neurological condition with varying causes, triggers, and symptoms. But when it comes right down to it, migraine attacks are a pain management problem, and that’s our specialty.

Dr. Jay M. Shah at SamWell Institute for Pain Management is a leading pain expert who has studied and treated chronic pain conditions of every type for years. 

When it comes to migraine headaches, he offers several cutting-edge treatments that can stop the pain phase in its tracks and may even lessen the frequency and/or severity of future migraine attacks. Here are some of our most effective migraine treatments we offer at our two locations in Colonia and Livingston, New Jersey.

Botox®

For some, Botox can allay migraine pain. That’s because the tiny amount of toxin in it penetrates your nerve endings and blocks the release of the chemicals that transmit pain signals in your brain. The effectiveness is undeniable, which led the Food and Drug Administration to approve Botox as a migraine treatment in 2010, but only for folks who suffer from at least 15 migraines a month or more. It’s not as effective for occasional attacks.

Botox works for many patients who experience migraines, and for those who experience relief, it can prevent attacks before they start. You may need several treatments for the full effect.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

Although we are still learning about the specific causes of migraine headaches, one thing we do know is that there’s a connection between the disorder and jaw joint problems, as well as nerves in the head, neck, and face.. Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your head and neck, so if it becomes damaged or inflamed, it can cause a ripple effect of pain, stiffness, clicking, and popping. And for some people, it can trigger a migraine attack or make an existing attack worse.

Since the same factors that set off a migraine attack can also set off a TMJ disorder — we’re talking stress, injury, genetics, hormonal imbalances, to name a few — these two conditions often go hand in hand. This is also the case for inflamed nerves or joints in the cervical spine that are notorious for causing chronic migraine headaches.

Fortunately, studies show that platelet-rich plasma therapy can treat both conditions at once. Using a small sample of your own blood, we separate the components and inject only the concentrated platelets, healing factors, and growth factors from your own body into your jaw, or even the joints in the neck. The healing properties in the PRP serum go to work getting rid of inflammation, easing pain, and repairing tissues. If you have migraine headache attacks, this could be the treatment for you.

Cervical facet blocks

Another joint that may contribute to migraine pain is a little lower than your jaw — it’s in your neck. To be specific, we’re talking about your cervical facet joints positioned on either side of your upper spine. When these joints become inflamed, you may experience pain in your upper back, shoulders, and neck, and this pain and tension can trigger a migraine attack.

Cervical facet joint injections contain lidocaine and a touch of anti-inflammatory medication, a fast-acting pain-reliever, and has a longer-lasting effect on your neck pain and migraine headache status, and are safely performed under live x-ray image guidance

Cervical radiofrequency ablation

If your attacks involve the nerves in your neck, you may be a good candidate for cervical radiofrequency (RF) ablation. Here, Dr. Shah targets a specific nerve using sophisticated image-guiding technology that allows him to deliver RF energy in a precise location de-inflamming the nerves that cause neck pain and heaches wrapping up the head 

The gentle pulses of RF energy prevents them from being able to send inflammatory pain signals. For migraine attacks associated with certain nerves in the neck, this may be the treatment that finally subdues your migraine pain, with pain relief that can last from 6 months to 2 years.

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS)

Dr. Shah specializes in spinal cord stimulation, a highly effective treatment for chronic pain that doesn’t respond to more conservative approaches. Often used to treat pain in the neck, arms, legs, and back, SCS has also proven effective in the treatment of intractable chronic migraine headaches.

SCS works by stopping the pain signals between your nerves and your brain. Dr. Shah accomplishes this by attaching small electrical leads to the epiduralspace in your neck where the affected nerves originate. He then activates those leads with small bursts of low-voltage electrical pulses that interfere with the pain signals and cause the nerves to stop causing pain. 

After a trial period, you and Dr. Shah determine whether the pain relief that SCS provides is significant enough to consider it as a permanent solution.

If the answer is yes, then he tunnels the leads to a pocket he creates between the skin and muscle in either your buttock or chest area, where he implants a small generator to power the electrical pulses. After that, you use a handheld remote device to control your own pain relief.

Studies show that 71% of patients with intractable chronic migraine pain experience at least a 50% decrease in their pain level. They also reported a decrease in medication use and an increase in their quality of life.

If you suffer from chronic migraine pain, talk to Dr. Shah about which treatment might be best for you. Call us at either location, or book online to schedule an appointment. 

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