I’m not one to post on the internet, but I started suffering from migraines in June of 2009. I had to leave my graduate program and since then, I have pretty much had to give up everything from school, my scholarships, my hobbies, my health, driving, and my friends.
I’ve gained weight from medications, had seizures from drug interactions, and am depressed from the lack of hope on the horizon. I know that there are more people out there like me and I wanted to share a few minutes of my story.
I have not found medications to be very helpful for my daily chronic intractable migraines. I am on daily preventative drugs (Topamax, Corgard, Lyrica, Cymbalta) and take abortive as well (DHE injections, Toradol injections, Aspirin, Aleve, Zanaflex, Zofran, Benadryl, etc.).
However, the one thing that I have found to be helpful has been Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation (RFTC) treatments. Done in pain clinics by anesthesiologists, this procedure, while it can be somewhat painful like a nerve block, has been the only thing keeping me literally “sane.”
Radiofrequency thermocoagulation is a way of interrupting pain signals. Radiofrequency current is used to heat up a small volume of nerve tissue, thereby interrupting pain signals from that particular area. Radiofrequency needles, accurately placed with the aid of fluoroscopic X-ray machines, generate local heat at the tip when electrical current is applied, which can be precisely controlled to thermocoagulate painful nerves with minimal tissue damage. The procedures can be performed with little trauma using local anesthesia and intravenous sedation.
For me, the healing time unfortunately is typically about three weeks. During this time, when the nerves are “dying,” I do often visit the ER for pain management. However, after this healing period, I am often pain free for anywhere from 6-12 months. I get this procedure done on my Left and Right Occipital areas and on the Left and Right areas of my neck. Each area needs to be done separately because no more than five nerves can be burned at a time (according to my specialist).
Hope this helps.