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Chronic Migraines: Exploring Alternative Pain Solutions

Migraine, a neurological condition characterized by intense throbbing headaches, affects millions of individuals worldwide. According to the NIH, up to 2% of people worldwide suffer from chronic migraines. Chronic migraines are medical conditions that cause headaches at least 15 days a month. Eight of those days typically also have migraine symptoms, such as an aura. These headaches must persist for at least three months to be considered chronic.

Chronic migraines, particularly those with aura, pose significant challenges, often debilitating those who suffer from them. Despite conventional treatments, many individuals find limited relief. However, emerging therapies like Botox injections and ketamine offer promising avenues for managing chronic migraines.

The Impact of Chronic Migraines

Chronic migraines can profoundly impact individuals' quality of life. Some people who have chronic migraines are unable to work. In addition to the pounding pain, migraine sufferers often experience sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Attacks can last hours or days, preventing people from carrying out routine activities, including work or social engagements.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraines are among the top 20 causes of disability worldwide. The burden extends beyond physical discomfort, as the condition can lead to emotional distress, social isolation, and financial strain. Additionally, the unpredictability of migraine attacks adds another layer of challenge, making it difficult for individuals to plan and maintain consistent daily routines.

In the US, migraine is the top cause of disability for people under the age of 50, according to research at the National Library of Medicine.

Conventional Treatments for Chronic Migraines

Conventional treatments for migraines often include over-the-counter pain relievers, like  ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to mitigate symptoms. Doctors frequently recommend beverages with caffeine as well to thwart the headaches.

Prescription medications such as triptans or ergotamines may be prescribed to help manage pain management. Neurologists may also recommend lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques, and avoiding triggers. Many people with chronic migraines keep a diary to help discern their triggers.

Unfortunately,  despite these treatments, many people continue to experience unmitigated pain or adverse side effects. For many, alternative therapies can offer practical and well-tolerated options for managing chronic migraines.

Botox Injections: A Novel Approach

Botox injections have gained attention as a promising treatment for chronic migraines. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose, Botox works by blocking certain chemicals from releasing and causing pain transmission. This helps reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. A healthcare professional administers multiple injections around the head and neck every 12 weeks.

Clinical trials have demonstrated Botox injections are effective in reducing migraine frequency and severity, with many people experiencing significant improvements in their symptoms. While side effects such as neck pain or muscle weakness at the injection site are possible, they are typically mild and temporary. Many insurance companies will pay for these injections but may require proof other treatments have failed.

Ketamine: Exploring a Potential Breakthrough

Ketamine, traditionally used as an anesthetic, has emerged as a novel treatment option for chronic migraines. It is beneficial in cases where other therapies have failed. The drug works through complex mechanisms in the brain, including modulating neurotransmitters involved in pain processing and perception.

Ketamine infusions are typically administered in a controlled medical setting under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals. While more research is needed to fully understand ketamine's long-term efficacy and safety profile for migraine treatment, findings suggest that it holds potential as a valuable addition to the arsenal.

Other Alternative Therapies for Chronic Migraines

Alongside Botox injections and ketamine, several other unconventional treatments for chronic migraines have shown promise in clinical research or anecdotal evidence. Here are a few:

  • CGRP Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs): CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) monoclonal antibodies are a newer class of medications designed to prevent migraines. They target the CGRP pathway, which may play a key role in migraine pathophysiology. Aimovig (erenumab), Ajovy (fremanezumab), Emgality (galcanezumab), and Vyepti (eptinezumab) are examples of CGRP mAbs approved by the FDA for migraine prevention. These medications are typically administered via monthly or quarterly injections and have shown significant efficacy in reducing migraine frequency and severity in clinical trials.
  • Non-Invasive Neuromodulation Devices: Non-invasive neuromodulation devices, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation (t-SNS), offer alternative approaches to migraine management. These devices deliver electromagnetic pulses or electrical stimulation to specific head or neck areas, modulating neuronal activity and potentially disrupting migraine pathways. Proper placement requires surgery. Devices like the Cefaly and SpringTMS have been FDA-approved for the acute treatment or prevention of migraines and are often used as adjunctive therapies alongside medications.
  • Mind-Body Therapies: Mind-body therapies, including acupuncture, biofeedback, and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), offer holistic approaches to migraine management. MBSR incorporates mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other practices to cultivate present-moment awareness and stress reduction, which may help prevent migraines or lessen their severity.
  • Nutraceuticals and Supplements: Certain nutraceuticals and dietary supplements have shown promise in migraine management. For example, magnesium supplementation may help prevent migraines in some individuals, as magnesium deficiency has been linked to increased migraine frequency. While evidence supporting the effectiveness of supplements varies, some individuals find them beneficial as adjunctive treatments to conventional therapies. Talk to a doctor before starting any new supplements.

These unconventional treatments offer additional options for individuals with chronic migraines who may not respond adequately to conventional approaches.

Consult a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment to make sure its safety and effectiveness are proven, especially in migraine management.

Getting Help for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain presents substantial challenges for those affected, impacting various aspects of their lives. While conventional treatments provide some relief for many individuals, a significant unmet need remains for more effective and well-tolerated therapies.

Contact us at 910-295-7246 to learn more about our solutions for chronic pain patients. We’re here to answer your questions.


If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.



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Addiction, pain, and mental health challenges interfere with the joys of living, but we can help. Dr. Corrigan, and the whole team at Solas Health, will help.

If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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