Heather had been suffering with dull headaches in her forehead and behind her eyes almost every day for years. They were almost always aggravated with changes in the weather, and she awakened with them frequently. She suffered from nasal congestion that was not significantly improved with sprays or allergy treatments her doctors had prescribed. She generally took antibiotics once or twice a year during a particularly prolonged episode of headache, but her “sinus infections” were never associated with infected drainage. She was resigned to live with this chronic discomfort which significantly impaired her quality of life. She was astonished to discover that her “sinus headaches” were actually caused by migraine and she was delighted that over 90% of her symptoms resolved taking a safe, low-dose medication to prevent migraine activity.
Heather was never effectively treated because her symptoms were not recognized as migraine. 90% of sinus headaches are actually migraine and respond to migraine medication better than to antibiotics. If antibiotics are prescribed when there is no infected drainage, the headaches do go away in a few days, but not because of the antibiotic. It is just because the headache has finally burned out.
Dr. Michael Teixido is a Hearing and Balance Specialist with a special interest in migraine. He explains to his patients that there are many types of migraine they have not heard of, but are just as treatable as the more classic, debilitating migraine headaches they are familiar with. “We all know someone who has very severe, incapacitating, pounding headaches that usually involve one side of the head. These are life-stoppers that require a patient to seclude themselves in a dark, quiet room or sleep until the headache passes. This, of course, interferes with their ability to function at home and work. These most severe migraine episodes are not rare; they are experienced by 13% of the United States population. An even larger percent of the population suffers less severe symptoms of migraine which could be effectively treated with sound anti-migraine therapies, if only their problem was recognized as migraine.”
“A person who has migraine, always has migraine. As we get older, migraine symptoms change. The headaches tend to become milder and symptoms like nausea and vertigo become more prominent. In many cases, the headache may be so mild that it is just a subtle head pressure or is absent altogether. It is always a surprising revelation for patients to learn that headache is not even a necessary part of the migraine syndrome and is completely absent in many cases.” says Teixido.
“Almost 40% of patients with classic migraine also experience vertigo. This vertigo is rarely recognized as a migraine symptom because it doesn’t happen at the same time as the headache. To treat these patients, I first emphasize trigger identification and avoidance which requires patient education using materials from my website. If these strategies are not effective, medications can be used at the time of the attacks. If episodes are frequent or severely debilitating, medications can be used daily to prevent attacks altogether.”
Dr. Teixido has partnered with Kelley Lester-Garrett FNP to open a headache treatment site that can help to meet our community’s needs. “We strongly believe that patients will succeed if they are encouraged to understand their migraine problem. We are then in a position to work together to get the best results. It is a pleasure to see patients’ symptoms and lives improve as a result of our combined efforts,” adds Kelley.