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Migraines are severe headaches that affect as many as 35 million Americans. The symptoms of migraines, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to sound and light, make these headaches truly debilitating. In the past, there were no effective ways to manage migraines beyond avoiding triggers and riding them out. Today, injectable treatments and surgical procedures are helping many suffering with chronic migraines get the relief they need to reduce their migraine episodes and improve their quality of life.

Identifying Migraine Patterns

In order to properly treat migraines, physicians must first identify the zone in which the headaches commonly originate. There are four basic trigger zones for migraines:

Temporal Zone
These types of migraines usually originate around the temples and sides of the head. Some patients that suffer from these headaches also have a history of teeth grinding (bruxism) and a painful jaw condition known as temporomandibular joint pain or TMJ. These headaches are also frequently triggered by stress. The primary culprit in temporal migraines is usually the trigeminal nerve.

Forehead Zone
The front of the head is another place where migraines can originate. Known as forehead migraines, these headaches tend to come on strong behind the eyebrows or between the eyes. Like temporal migraines, forehead migraines are also frequently brought on by stress. Treatment for these headaches needs to focus on both the supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves, as well as the glabellar muscles.

Nasal Zone
Migraines that originate in the nasal zone are usually characterized by pain behind the eyes or around the nose. In most cases, the cause of this headache is a pinched nerve due to a deviated septum or other abnormality inside the nose. These types of headaches tend to come on or worsen with changes in the weather or with nasal congestion. In this case, correction of the nasal abnormality should also bring relief to the headaches.

Occipital Zone
These migraines originate in the back of the head and are often linked to pain in the neck and upper back. Causes can be attributed to stress and tension, or other underlying neck and back problems. Treatment for these headaches usually focuses on the occipital nerve and muscles of the neck and upper back that might be contributing to the problem.

Botox before Surgery

Surgical treatment for migraines is not typically recommended unless a patient is suffering from frequent, debilitating headaches and has not found relief from traditional medications or lifestyle alterations. Once the origination of the migraines has been identified, Botox injections can be used in that zone to relax the muscles that lead to compression of the nerves and the onset of headaches.

The only type of migraine that cannot be treated via Botox injections is the nasal migraine. However, the cause of these headaches can usually be diagnosed with CT imaging, allowing the surgeon to make the appropriate surgical correction inside the nose to relieve the problem.

If Botox is effective in reducing the other types of migraines, the patient can then look to surgical treatment as a more permanent solution to their migraine condition. Surgery involves release of the nerves that lead to the onset of migraines, which makes the patient more resistant to the triggers that commonly cause these headaches. Most patients that have surgery see significant reduction in both the frequency and severity of their headaches.

If you suffer from migraines and medication is not helping you manage your condition effectively, there are other treatment options. To learn about Botox and surgical treatments for migraines, contact the New York Plastic Surgery Group at 888-591-4845 (New York City) or 914-366-6139 (Tarrytown).

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