Combination Therapy for Migraine
I’ve been a migraine sufferer since my teens, but I just shrugged off the attacks back then as they were sporadic. I was too busy being a teen and I had other things on my mind such as having a social life, work-life and going to school. As I grew older and the disease began to progress I knew I needed to get serious about trying to control the growing beast. I began getting test after test done to hopefully find a cause, but also to rule out other issues.
My migraine treatment plan
Once I became chronic I was forced to take a hard look at what self-care was going to look like for me. I found a good team of doctors that understood migraine disease and also understood me and how migraine was affecting my life.
Combination therapy for migraine
We understood that a single therapy would not be something that could provide me with the relief I needed. I was going to need a well-combined therapy to help control and treat my attacks. I am going to focus on the three modes of therapy that I am currently using which are Emgality, the Nerivio device, and biofeedback.
My experience with Emgality
Emgality is one of the three injectable CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) drugs that came on the market just recently. It is a monthly shot that comes in the form of an auto-injector so administration from home is easy and virtually pain-free. This is my first layer of therapy. I make sure to take the shot the same day each month for consistency of therapy.
Has Emgality worked for me?
I have been on the medication for six months and I have good results which, for me, means less pain during an attack. I still have all my other prodrome symptoms and experience the postdrome hangover, but the diffused pain I now experience is more tolerable.
My experience with biofeedback
There are so many drugs you can take for migraine. I know because I’ve been on and still take quite a number of them. That being said I was very interested in also using non-drug options to treat my migraine disease. My next layer of therapy was biofeedback.
Has biofeedback worked for me?
I was skeptical at first, but after a few sessions, I was really starting to see how the mindful techniques of deep relaxation were helpful. In addition to my doctor visits for biofeedback, I also began using two different apps to guide my relaxation while at home. These apps were less than three dollars and are the Relax and Rest app and the Autogenic Training and Progressive Muscle Relaxation app. I use both three to four times a week and also if I feel an oncoming attack I use them to mindfully relax my body and that helps to prevent tightness in my neck and shoulders.
My experience with the Nerivio device
I also am using a neuromodulation device called Nerivio. This has been another good addition to my migraine therapy and it is drug-free as well. It is a small device similar to a TENS unit that I wear on my upper arm during the onset of an attack. There is an app that controls the unit that you will need to download, but it works easily via blue tooth. I control the intensity from the app, and the length of therapy is forty-five minutes per session. I find that it does take the edge off my attacks. The unit requires a prescription from your doctor, and each unit comes pre-loaded with twelve therapy sessions. The unit cost is ninety-nine dollars.
Emgality, Nerivio, and biofeedback combined
Overall I have found that the combined therapy is something that works well for me. I also understand all too well that not every therapy works for everyone so you will have to try it for yourself. I find it comforting to know that I have non-drug related therapies in my arsenal of migraine care options. I know for me it has been used effectively to replace my abortive triptans, and that too lowers my stress levels as I know I will not run out of them as soon. Stay strong my fellow migraine warriors and I pray you to have migraine-free days!
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?