Good News for the Migraine Sufferer

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If you have ever experienced a migraine, you know how debilitating it can be and that it is not, in any way, like a normal headache. A migraine occurs when swollen blood vessels around the brain press on nearby nerves, causing intense pulsing or throbbing pain.

Migraine headaches affect approximately 12% of Americans, typically in the range of 25 – 55 years of age. Women are three times more likely to experience migraines. Stress, diet, and hormonal change can trigger migraines. Migraines can also develop as the result of trauma when involved in an automobile accident. The migraine headache is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness and intense sensitivity to light and noise. Some individuals will also experience an “aura”.

During ancient times, the Greeks and Romans used peppermint tea and also drank infusions made from chamomile, rosemary and lavender. They also applied raw potato, cabbage and onion to attempt to relieve the pain.

In more recent times, treatment has consisted of prescribed medications, including Imitrex and Relpax once the migraine surfaces; and daily medications such as Topamax. Unfortunately, many migraines occur without warning and migraine sufferers do not always improve with these medications.

The F.D.A. has recently approved Botox as a method to treat chronic migraine headaches in adults. Patients with a history of chronic migraines, can experience as many as fourteen migraines a month. This obviously can affect family, work and social life.

A Botox treatment usually involves a total of 31 injections in seven areas, including the forehead, temples, back of the head, neck and sometimes the shoulder area. Injections are usually given about every three months.

Treatment can cost approximately $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the amount given and the physician’s fee. However, some private health plans are now likely to cover the migraine treatment since the F.D.A. has approved it. This is good news for the long term migraine sufferer. Co-payments may apply and the patient should speak with their health care provider to discuss applicable fees. If the migraine has resulted from an automobile accident, it is possible the treatment may be covered under your automobile insurance coverage. At Barna, Guzy & Steffen, our personal injury attorneys would be able to assist you in reviewing your policy and discussing your options.

Although the benefits from Botox continue to be studied, the chronic migraine sufferer will typically experience approximately 2.3 fewer headache episodes a month than they had before the Botox treatment. They also have reported an improvement in their daily functioning and quality of life.

If you are prone to migraines and have a history of chronic migraines, it would be beneficial to speak with your treating physician about the benefits of Botox injections. You may also want to check with your private health care provider to see, if in fact, your policy does include Botox treatments. It could change your life!

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