By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – The pain is severe and can come on with little or no warning. Twenty-eight million Americans suffer from migraine headaches.

An increasingly popular surgical option is providing relief for many patients.

Dale Eadeh, a migraine sufferer, said “I couldn’t take the light. I would sit at my desk blinking.” He pointed to areas of his where the pressure would become intense, adding “The pain could come up the whole side of my head. I would stutter.”

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Like many migraine patients, Eadah tried different approaches to get relief. “I went through acupuncture, and epidural spinal injections to block the nerves in my head. I have taken every pill imaginable.”

Botox injections have proven to give some relief to patients, by relaxing muscles in the face and scalp. This provided a clue that another type of treatment might also work.

Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, a plastic surgeon, explained “If we can go in there with Botox , and relax the muscles around these nerves , are we able to help these patients by taking away the trigger mechanism that puts pressure on these nerves?”

That’s what Dr. Alizadeh proposed to do for Dale Eadeh, but this time he is taking away the trigger with surgery, not more Botox.

This procedure focuses on finding the nerves causing the migraine. Then the surgeon cuts away the muscle compressing or squeezing those nerves.

Dr. Alizadeh added, “If we can go there physically and release these muscles surgically, we can potentially cause a cure for these patients.”

Eadeh had nerves decompressed at the back of his neck, along his temple, and in his forehead.
That was more than a month ago. In that time span, he usually would have had 5-6 migraines. “That’s a week. That’s two weeks. That’s three weeks. That’s a month of no migraines. Phenomenal! I am actually believing now that it’s going to last.”

The exact cause of migraines still isn’t known. It is believed that getting regular sleep can help you avoid them. Certain foods like chocolate, red wine and aged cheese, among others, can also trigger them.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from migraines.

This surgery is available locally at Mass General Hospital.

Comments (7)
  1. Agustin Legido says:

    There isn’t a specific reason as to why a person suffers migraine attacks. It has a lot of different causes – it occurs once or twice in couple months or the headaches keep coming back if proper treatment is not being pursued for its remedy. Migraine pain management for continued and lasting relief requires identifying and going down to the root causes that gives rise to it and avoiding it completely.

    Agustin Legido

  2. Cathy Lafleche says:

    Although I appreciate your comment Agustin, it isn’t always that easy. There are some patients, myself included, who have done everything imaginable to stop their migraines to no avail. I get migraines every single day, no exaggaration. I am being treated by a well known neurologist in his field who has tried everything from nerve blocks, Botox, herbal supplements to every class of drug used in the treatment of migraine. On my own I have tried acupuncture, massage, chiropractor, eliminating foods, eliminating all scents, more herbal supplements and on and on. Don’t get me wrong, most people with migraine can be well managed with abortive and preventative drugs, but there are just some of us who can’t be helped. I would give anything to try this surgery. I would try anything at this point but insurance won’t cover it and I can’t afford it. To all you other migraine sufferers, hang in there. There has to be light at the end of the tunnel…I’m still looking for it.

  3. jerry says:

    Maybe i can help yall out , my brother has had migraines really bad for over 19 years no joke .and my mom side of the family has had a history of migraines as well . See my brother was staying in bed between 5 to 7 days a week so bad that he had to wear a mask to block the light out .Then one day my mom was talking to her sister which she lives in another state and she told her that she found out that if she took a protein shake once a day that her migraines would go away .So my mom started my brother on the (WHEY PROTEIN SHAKES) 1 shake a day and he drank the the shake for a solid week and after about a week his migraines started to go away and he had not had a migraine in over a month and my poor brother suffered for over 19 years with these migraines . So (CATHY LAFLECHE) try the PROTEIN SHAKE called WHET PROTEIN SHAKE you can buy it at wal-mart just drink one glass a day . Let me know if this helps you or anyone else out , i know drinking a whey protein shake sounds funny but believe me it helped my brother out after 19 years no joke , try it for a week . So let me know if it helps you or anyone else out i m me back at goodluck to everyone who trys it .

  4. Susan Babb says:

    I have been a Migraine sufferer for 50 years. I have been to every Dr. imaginable and tryed every clinic,study,drug prescription,over the counter,herbel,you name it i’ve done it.Now that I am 55 I am finding the symptoms are changing and it’s scary. I have always lost part of my vision,had the auroas,tingles in the face, neck and hands,and extreme sensitivity to light. I am now finding that a newwarning for me is extreme hunger,and the ability to get my words to come out in a proper sentence. They are all jumbled,and have no meaning.Just like that news caster who was shown a few months back.
    I am willing to try another treatment,who knows maybe my mid life will be pain free in the head area. Good luck to all you sufferers out there. I sympathize with you 100%. Sue B…

  5. Elisabeth B says:

    There is a history of migraines on my mother’s side of the family. Back in December of 2009 I would have a migraine everyday and couldn’t figure out why. Then in April of 2009 I ended up in the ER with facial numbness and what the doctors thought were stroke-like symptoms. It turns out it was a complex migraine…just like the one that the female reporter suffered on air. I was terified! After being in the hospital for 3 days I had to leave my job due to the migraine as it was due to the enviornment I was working in (manufactering). I’m still getting migraines and nausea although I’m on meds. Feel like I have them daily sometimes again…

    My poor Aunt has migraines and food sensitives and she is just miserable! She also has a PFO so I wonder if there is any connection? Maybe this new surgery could help her?

    Hopefully, a cure for us migraine sufferers will be found someday soon!

    1. Nancy H says:

      Yes…there is a connection with PFO and migraine. You should be checked for PFO if you have migraines…you need an echocardiogram. I have terrible migraines myself and just had the botox treatment. It’s not without it’s side effects. So tired of it all. Good luck!

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