In my previous posts, I have focused on medications used to prevent or treat migraine. In the next few posts I will focus on alternative methods of treatment my doctor recommended to prevent migraine and also to attack the problem of my dueling disturbances of fibromyalgia and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). I must say that those two beasts have gotten in the way of migraine treatment.
I was running through the list of preventive medications in 2007 with the side effects at times derailing any progress. A neurologist back then had suggested I see a pain management specialist. I was already going regularly to physical therapy. The idea was for both therapies to work together where medication had failed.
I saw Dr. Ricardo Buenaventura, a neurologist and anesthesiologist, who heads up Pain Relief of Dayton. Dr. Buenaventura works alongside your current doctor or specialist to treat chronic pain. My daily headaches, head/neck pain, and migraine attacks were unending by the time I walked through his door. I was still trying various preventive medications along with muscle relaxers, over-the-counter pain relief medications and supplements. By then I couldn’t tell how many migraine attacks were separate ones to say whether they were once or twice a week. Each attack lasted days and weeks instead of minutes and hours.
Dr. Buenaventura tried three procedures in an outpatient capacity. These procedures would require time in prayer and serious pep talks. The injections burned regardless of numbing agents. They shocked my senses. I thought I would pass out – but then that might be from shallow breathing on my part. I recommend people not do this alone. Take a friend or family member. I had my hubby Dave as my coach and driver.
To best explain each treatment, I’ve pulled information from the Pain Relief of Dayton website: http://www.painreliefofdayton.com. The first one I received was occipital nerve block. Dr. Buenaventura injected local anesthetics and then a steroid in the origin of the greater and lesser occipital nerves around my head and above the neckline.
“Nerve blocks for chronic pain may work for 6 to 12 months. They may need to be repeated for maximum effect. Diagnostic nerve blocks help determine sources of pain or further courses of action needed to achieve pain relief. The amount of immediate pain relief experienced helps to confirm or deny the joint as a source of pain.”
After the procedure, I had worsening pain for a few days at the source of each injection. Physical therapy helped to return me back down to a lesser number on the pain scale, but overall I was having the same frequency of migraine attacks and daily headache pain.
I wasn’t ready to walk away just yet. I agreed to a second treatment: trigger point injections. Dr. Buenaventura injected a local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication into trigger points in various parts of my head in an attempt to relieve muscle spasms and inflammation.
“The anesthetic medication injected during a trigger point injection blocks pain receptors in the nerves surrounding the muscle. This helps reduce the transmission of pain signals to the brain. The anti-inflammatory medication helps reduce swelling of the tissue surrounding the nerve. This can also help decrease pain. Depending on the circumstances, some patients receive optimal pain relief with a series of injections scheduled several weeks apart.”
I went for only one round of injections because I reacted as I had before with each injection site having swelled up, increasing pain, daily headaches, nausea, and migraine attacks.
When BOTOX® for migraine was approved, I agreed to this third treatment. I handed over my credit card and paid the full deductible one January because I heard great reviews from friends and relatives. I’m all about great reviews!
These injections went into the temples, side, and back of my head. “The injections work by blocking the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine within muscles, forcing them to relax. This can help to relieve chronic pain and other health conditions that involve muscle spasms or other involuntary muscle contraction. BOTOX® injections can be effective in treating headache pain, chronic neck pain, arthritis, and pain associated with muscle-related injuries.”
My body reacted to the sites of the injections with no improvement just as I experienced with the first two treatments. I did ask about trying this procedure a second time – so many others were migraine free! Dr. Buenaventura thought I would probably have the same reaction. Now that treatment was not without it’s amusement. For a while, the skin on my forehead wouldn’t allow for much expression. I would try to raise my eyebrows and only the highest points would move for at least a month. I looked like Jack Nicholson from “The Shining.”
Me: “Heeeere’s Susie!”
The treatments I received at Pain Relief of Dayton didn’t move me closer to the goal of preventing migraine, but I did learn more about new avenues for treating chronic pain that hopefully will help people God places in my path. I’m still hopeful that something will work finally to help me. I do realize that we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We’re each a unique creation. What hasn’t worked for me could work for someone else. Whatever I’ve walked through in life has a reason behind it. Maybe I’m just the one to pass the baton to the next runner to help others find relief and comfort after living so long with migraine or other chronic pain disorders.
To learn more about Pain Relief of Dayton or to make an appointment, call (937)395-1300 or go to http://www.painreliefofdayton.com. Please check out 3a — the companion to this post about Pain Relief of Dayton. Sometimes it’s the information you tuck away that ends up helping you later. Also, let me know about treatments you’ve had with pain management specialists.