What’s the outlook for people with chronic migraine?

The hope for people with chronic migraine is to control the headache. With a good treatment plan, it is reasonable to believe that the number and severity of migraine headaches can be reduced. Many patients with chronic migraine may revert to episodes of migraine over time.

For patients with chronic migraines that have not responded to previous treatments, there are other options. Some patients need more aggressive hands-on techniques such as nerve blocks and trigger point injections. Other patients – particularly those with medication overuse headaches - need to rid their body of previous medications (be detoxified) in a monitored setting, such as an infusion suite. In the infusion suite, patients receive intravenous medications that stop migraines and treat the nausea and vomiting.

For patients with the most difficult migraines to treat – those not responding to any treatments, in whom detoxification efforts have not been totally effective, and patients are still using medications not helpful to improving their headache – a team approach is required. The team, consisting of healthcare professionals from neurology, psychiatry, psychology, nursing, physical therapy and social work, meet together with the patient and the patient’s family over a series of weeks to develop a plan of care and monitor progress. Patients with difficult to treat migraines should ask their doctors to refer them to facilities that offer such multi-team, patient-centered programs.

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