Should You Have Nerve Decompression Surgery for Your Migraines?

If you suffer from migraines, you know firsthand how debilitating this condition can be. Migraines can keep you from performing well at work, and they can make it hard to enjoy your family life and relationships. The pain, nausea, end exhaustion may have you wondering: should you have surgery to treat your migraines? The most common surgical procedure used for the treatment of migraines is called nerve decompression surgery. Here are some questions to ask yourself and to explore as you decide whether you should undergo this procedure.

Have you tried several non-surgical remedies?

Doctors usually only recommend neurosurgery for patients who have already tried other non-surgical treatments for their migraines, but with limited success. If you have only tried over-the-counter meds, then consult with your doctor about prescription options before you start seriously considering surgery. Other treatment options include chiropractic care, antidepressants, and nerve blocks. If you have tried a few different treatments and are still suffering, then that's a good sign it's time to consult with a neurosurgeon.

Do your migraines come with a lot of eye pain or pain at the back of the head?

Every case of migraines is a little different. Some cases are more responsive to nerve decompression surgery than others. If your migraines come with a lot of eye pain, tightness behind the eyes, and ocular symptoms, this is an indication that nerve decompression surgery is likely to be effective for you. The neurosurgeon can focus on alleviating pressure on the nerves that run across your forehead, which are often compressed in cases where eye symptoms are severe. 

If your migraine pain seems to be centered at the back of your head, near where your head meets your neck, this is another sign nerve decompression surgery is a good option. In this case, your neurosurgeon can alleviate pressure on the nerves at the base of your neck. Migraines that cause pain centralized in the middle of the head tend to be less responsive to nerve decompression surgery.

Do you have time to dedicate to recovery?

Nerve decompression surgery is usually performed through small incisions in as minimally invasive a procedure as possible. However, it is still a surgery, so you will need to take some time off to recover following the procedure. Most people need to take at least a week off from work. If your job is physically strenuous, your neurosurgeon may recommend a longer resting period.

Nerve decompression surgery can relieve pressure on the nerves in your forehead or the back of your head, and it can be a good option for some migraine patients. Consult with a neurosurgeon if you think this procedure may help you.