More than 4 million people suffer from chronic migraines, and 44% of people experiencing severe headaches or migraines are never diagnosed and treated. Many try over-the-counter drugs, natural remedies, or prescriptions, but when those don’t work, they just become resigned to the discomfort.
Now Fairview’s partners at University of Minnesota Health have launched a new Headache Care program to provide quick access to headache specialists and the latest treatments.
For example, new injections approved by the FDA in 2018 may offer a solution for people who have tried everything, yet still find their work and social life interrupted by chronic migraines.
“For the first time, we have a treatment that works to prevent migraines from taking root by chemically targeting pain sensors in the brain,” says neurologist Sarah Benish, MD
. “Other treatments help lessen the likelihood of triggering a headache or target the symptoms of headaches.”
The Monoclonal Antibody Injections and Botox are among the treatment options in the new Headache Care program.
“For some people, there is no cure for headaches. But our program neurologists and physiatrists are trained to help patients understand their type of headache – such as migraines, tension headaches, or cluster headaches – and find a solution that helps decrease the intensity and frequency,” Dr. Benish says. “We develop a customized treatment plan with each patient and can connect them to resources like acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. There are options besides just taking medication.”
The program aims to help patients avoid costly emergency care when experiencing headaches and instead come up with a personalized, lasting solution to prevent them.
To help decide when it’s a good idea to consult a headache specialist, patients can ask themselves two questions:
- Do headaches make it difficult for me to function in daily life?
- Am I experiencing a new type of headache that I haven’t before?
If the answer to either question is yes, Headache Care specialists can help. Patients can make an appointment without a referral, though it’s best to check with their insurer to see if their plan requires one.
Timely appointments are available Monday through Friday by calling (612) 626-6688. For more information, visit www.mhealth.org/headache.