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HEADACHE TREATMENTS

Solve your headache problems

Headache is one of the common conditions for which men and women seek treatment from Dr. Elbaridi, MD. At the Loop Medical Center, Dr. Elbaridi relieves the headache of the men and women of Chicago, and the surrounding Illinois region with effective treatments. If you’re experiencing headaches, or you want to learn learn more about our Pain Clinic, schedule an appointment by using the online form or calling our office.

Headache relief at Loop Medical Center

There are a variety of conditions that can cause headaches, such as chronic migraines, inflammation in the occipital nervetrigeminal neuralgia, other facial pain syndromes, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.

Depending on the underlying issue, a skilled interventionist may be able to offer less invasive procedures, such as nerve blocks in the affected regions. Minimally invasive techniques can alleviate congenital or acquired structural defects in bone, neural structures, and connective tissue, allowing for rapid reduction in pain.

These treatments may succeed where other therapies have failed and can reduce long term health burdens to the patient, such as by minimizing reliance on opiate medications.

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TREATMENTS

Botox is an FDA-approved treatment for chronic migraines, defined as head pain that persists for more than 15 days of the month, in adults. Botox comes from a botulinum toxin, a chemical that, when purified, can safely reduce muscle activity.

Some individuals with migraines experience head pain due to frequent contraction of the muscles in the face, activating sensory neurons that send pain signals to the brain. Therefore, applying botox into the affected areas can reduce chronic migraines.

During this procedure, small amounts of Botox are inserted into muscles that are located just below the skin. Typically, treatments last for approximately 3 months, increasing in efficacy after multiple rounds of treatment. In addition, chronic migraine patients reported that their headaches were reduced by about 50% after just two treatments.

The greater occipital nerve, which allows for sensation in these regions, can become irritated or inflamed, leading to pain along the back or top of the head. Many patients describe this sensation as beginning at the base of the skull on one side and radiating to the eyes, forehead, and/or temple.

By performing steroid blocks in the occipital nerve, located in the back of the head, patients can find relief. This treatment is most successful in individuals with migraines, cluster headaches, spondylosis of the cervical facet joints, and occipital neuralgia. It can take several days for the treatment to take effect but relief can last for months in some cases.

The trigeminal, or fifth cranial nerve, is responsible for sensation in the forehead, mid-face, and jaw. Irritation of the fifth cranial nerve is termed trigeminal neuralgia. Facial pain can be treated by selectively blocking portions or all parts of the trigeminal nerve. The first step in diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia is to perform a diagnostic block, where a small amount of medicine is deposited along the path of individual nerve branches or at an intersection, where nerves sprout from the brain stem.

This delicate procedure can be safely and expertly performed using fluoroscopy, ultrasound and minimal sedation. For long-lasting relief, patients may need additional facial selective nerve blocks, and, sometimes, more long-term treatments such as neurolytic blocks with medications or Phenol, 100% Alcohol, may be necessary. Gasserian radiofrequency ablation treatments may also be considered.

Disorders of TMJ,  single or both sided, can lead to pain associated with simple grimassing, chewing, yawning, rest, or other daily activities. Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) can be exhibited as aching around the ears, numbness, tingling, mouth pain, clicking, and/or joint locking. Diagnosis of TMD can be difficult; in addition to imaging, an occlusion (usually done at the dentist’s office) examination and oral examination must be performed.

Prior to any treatments, pain management specialists work closely with general dentists and dental specialists to exclude alternative dental diseases as the cause of pain. If the source of pain is found to be TMJ, a simple nerve block into the joint, under ultrasound guidance, can help with confirmation. At that junction, a wide variety of treatments can be utilized, including nerve injections, radiofrequency ablation, or stem cell/PRP injections.

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