Are There Any Guaranteed Methods For Migraine Headache Relief?

Q: Dr. Eppley, why does electronic stimulus or surgery eliminate the headache associated with migraines? I noticed when I apply pressure with my forefinger the headache is relieved. Why is that accomplished? Is there any guaranteed method to relieve headaches caused from supraorbital nerve dysfunction?

A: Compressing the area of the focal headache is known to provide some temporary relief and many people do it to try and get some very temporary headache reduction. It is not known precisely why this works although the most logical explanation is similar to what happens when you burn your fingers or hit your thumbs with a hammer…you instinctively shake your the hand which does help to relieve some of the pain. This works because other sensory fibers than those carrying pain in the nerve supplying the area are stimulated. (such as pressure and movement sensations) This cuts the number of nerve fibers that can carry pain, thus one feels less pain. (competitive stimulation so to speak) Otherwise, there are no guaranteed methods for migraine headache relief. In properly selected patients surgical decompression has a high rate of success in the majority of patients with reduced frequency and duration of headaches that is sustained.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana