Alleviate Migraines in our Pain Management Clinics
There are multiple types of headaches, as well as different causes. Most headaches can be eliminated using oral medication, but others are persistent and affect your quality of life. We can help you alleviate migraine pain in our management clinic.To give you an appropriate diagnosis, we recommend you to keep a diary of your symptoms, including potential triggers, frequency, duration, etc. This will allow your headache doctor to better understand your condition and create a customized treatment plan for you.
Some causes of headaches are stress, environmental factors, dehydration, hunger, alcohol, hormone fluctuations, and medical conditions.
There are primary headaches (migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, hypnic headaches) and secondary headaches (caused by another condition, like a tumor).
What Are The Most Common Types of Headaches?
An intense, throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. It also produces sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and loss of appetite.
Can cause mild to intense pressure around the forehead or in the back of the head. It’s produced by stress, dehydration, or hormones.
This type of headache centers on the area around or behind the eye and lasts about 90 minutes. It usually appears daily in periods of weeks or months.
Treating Headaches and Migraines With Nerve Blocks
Based on your diagnosis, one of our pain doctors will recommend a specific treatment for you. Nerve blocks are one of the procedures that we use as a migraine treatment in our pain management clinics. Therapeutic nerve blocks consist of injecting a local anesthetic to control pain around a specific nerve or group of nerves.
This is a quick, outpatient procedure. Nerve blocks can be used as an abortive treatment, which means they are performed to provide quick pain relief.
Important Facts About Nerve Blocks
This outpatient procedure lasts a few minutes. We perform it using a local anesthetic, so you don’t feel any pain.
You may repeat this procedure every 4-6 weeks as a preventive therapy, depending on your symptoms and medical history.
Nerve blocks allow you to have a normal, painless life. They provide headache relief for days and even weeks.
FAQ About Nerve Blocks And Headaches
What is a headache trigger?
Triggers are things that cause headaches. These include things like alcohol, sleep deprivation, and missed meals.
Watching the events that surround headaches and identifying patterns is a good idea. This information can be very useful so your doctor can effectively diagnose your pain and create a treatment plan for you.
Are migraines and headaches hereditary?
Sometimes they are.
It is also possible to develop migraine-like headaches following head trauma, even if there is no family history.
Providing your physician with information about your family history of headaches will prove to be extremely helpful.
What causes migraines?
Migraine is most commonly a genetic condition. This is probably the result of the brain's oversensitive response to environmental changes.
When a painful stimulus reaches the trigeminal nerve, this produces the liberation of chemicals that affect the blood vessels that cover the brain. It also affects the ability of some nerves to function properly. In addition, it makes the brain oversensitive to sensory input.
Some common migraine triggers include stress, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, caffeine, alcohol, dehydration, and light.
What is a nerve block?
Medications such as anesthetics and anti-inflammatory injections are used to treat pain by targeting a particular nerve or group of nerves. The purpose of the injection is to block a pain signal coming from a specific location in the body or to reduce inflammation in that area.
To place the needle in the correct place, the doctor may use imaging guidance, such as fluoroscopy.
What are abortive treatments for headaches?
Abortive treatments are used to stop an existing headache.
They are most effective when taken as soon as the headache begins. You can buy abortive medicines over the counter, and others are obtained by prescription. Nerve blocks can be used as both abortive and preventive treatments.
Which types of headaches can be treated using nerve blocks?
How can nerve blocks help manage severe headaches?
We often use nerve blocks to stop migraines and other types of pain.
Migraines are an abortive therapy because it stops the pain from developing when you need a fast and effective solution. This is a short procedure that provides quick relief from migraines and other types of headaches, and the effect can last for weeks and even months. It can also be used to prevent pain from emerging.
I suffer from constant, severe headaches. Am I a good candidate for nerve blocks?
In our headache treatment centers, our doctors usually recommend nerve blocks when patients can’t find relief in conventional therapies, like off-the-counter medicines.
A headache doctor should always determine if nerve blocks are the best treatment for you. If you’ve had brain surgeries, or if you’ve had bad experiences with nerve blocks in the past, you should inform your pain specialist.
Are nerve blocks effective for headache relief?
Most people can benefit from nerve blocks. In our headache clinics, most patients experience significant pain relief that can last for several weeks. Some of them decide to repeat nerve blocks every few weeks to prevent pain from occurring.
Nevertheless, responses vary in each patient. The duration of pain relief can also be different.
Does this procedure require preparation?
There is no need for preparation before a nerve block procedure.
You will need to wear a gown. You may be asked to use the restroom before the procedure.
You will then be laying on your stomach, back, or side so that the doctor can reach the injection site the easiest way possible.
What happens during a nerve block procedure?
Nerve blocks are often performed on an outpatient basis. Usually, patients stay awake during the procedure.
With the help of a fluoroscope X-ray, we gently guide the needle to the right spot with a local anesthetic.
The headache doctor then injects pain-relieving medicine into the nerves. It only takes about 30 minutes to recover fully from the treatment and then you can go home. There may be a little soreness at the injection site of the nerve block, but this will go away within a few days.
Injections usually have an immediate effect. Nerve blocks, however, are only temporary. They last for one or two weeks and then wear off as the body absorbs them.
To experience long-term relief, patients may need several nerve blocks. For others, this kind of injection may not provide pain relief and they. In those cases, they may need to use a different type of headache or migraine treatment to relieve their symptoms.
Do nerve blocks hurt?
When the needle is inserted, it might feel like a "pinch". You may also feel some discomfort while the medication is being delivered.
To reach the nerve causing your problem, the needle may need to be inserted fairly deep. This can be unpleasant, but you should remain still so the needle is properly inserted.
Are nerve blocks safe?
Nerve blocks are generally considered safe. This procedure takes about 5-15 minutes. After the procedure, the patient remains in observation for half an hour.
Most patients are able to walk and drive after a nerve block procedure. Some side effects include soreness, dizziness, and numbness. Generally, these are minimal and resolve within a few hours or days.
Some serious complications are less common, such as fainting spells or temporary difficulties speaking or swallowing.
How long do nerve block injections take to start working?
Some patients experience an instantaneous effect, for others, it can take a week. Everybody responds differently to nerve blocks.
Remember this is a temporary solution for pain.
How many times can I repeat this procedure?
This depends on your medical history. It's possible to repeat the procedure between three and six times in a 12-month period.
You can discuss the number of injections you may receive with your pain doctor. They will determine the number of injections you need and can receive. It can be beneficial to have several pain blocks to ensure that your pain does not come back.
What are the outcomes of a nerve block procedure?
After a nerve block procedure, patients are normally able to return to their normal routines the same day. You may receive several treatments along with physical therapy or pain medications.
Besides finding significant pain relief, patients also improve their productivity and quality of life. They also experience other benefits, such as:
- They become more functional.
- Less dependence on opioids.
- Ability to perform physical therapy more effectively.
Are there non-medication therapies for headaches?
Besides injections and medicines, there are many ways to treat headaches and migraines, such as:
- Lifestyle changes, like regular sleep hours and mealtimes, avoiding triggers (like certain foods), and exercise.
- "Non-traditional" therapies, like acupuncture.
- Physical therapy.