Chronic migraines can disrupt work, family time, and everything in between. If you suffer from frequent migraines, this probably isn’t news to you, and chances are you’ve spent a lot of time trying to find ways to prevent them or stop them altogether. Maybe this means tracking your triggers using an app or sticking to natural headache remedies. If these haven’t improved your symptoms, there may be other options out there. Just recently, the FDA approved a monthly medication that could help patients prevent migraines.

The Drug

Aimovig, manufactured by Amgen and Novartis, is injected monthly using a device similar to an insulin pen. Approved by the FDA on May 17, 2018, the drug costs close to $7000 a year, and may not be covered by some insurance carriers. Aimovig works by blocking a specific protein fragment known as CGRP that may initiate or have a part to play in frequent migraines. While some estimates approximate a reduction in migraines by 50 percent, a recent editorial in the journal JAMA called the medication, “progress, but not a panacea.” In clinical drug trials, those taking the medication reported no more side effects than those taking a placebo, but the long-term side-effects have yet to be determined.

Will This Cure My Frequent Migraines?

The problem with any migraine treatment is that migraines are complicated. Little is still known about what causes them, and symptoms often vary from patient to patient. What causes migraines in one patient, may not cause migraines in another. While Aimovig is paving the way for newer and newer migraine treatments, it’s not the perfect solution. Because the drug has only been on the market for as little as 3 months, not much is known about it’s long-term side-effects or even its effectiveness in treating migraines in a larger population. It’s important to note that the goal of Aimovig is to limit the number of migraine days a patient experiences, not prevent migraines completely.

Alternative Migraine Treatments

If you’re reluctant to try Aimovig or hope to try alternative forms of treatment that are drug-free, there are several options available, including treatments for TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder. Although TMJ has yet to conclusively be linked to migraines, TMJ flare-ups have been known to trigger headaches, due to the complex relationship between the temporomandibular joint and the muscles and bone in the skull. The temporomandibular joint is a major part of the joint system in the skull. It conncets with muscles and nerves throughout the head and neck. Beyond the commonly known symptoms of TMJ–muscle soreness, lockjaw, and limited mobility–TMJ has been known to also cause symptoms such as vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms on top of your frequent migraines, then scheduling a dental appointment could be beneficial. You dentist can then provide several drug-free treatment options such as a mouth-splint meant to help your jaw heal, and protect you from tooth grinding.

Dr. Adam Hahn in Columbia, SC has experience helping people with all stages and types of TMJ. He can help you, too. Please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.