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Cleveland Clinic Headache Program

  • By Andrea

    Hey Everyone. Been reading for a while but this is my first time posting on the boards. Just thought I’d let people know that I was having migraines for years, but they began to get really bad around 2011 and in 2013 I got one that wouldn’t go away. I had a great neurologist who tried everything, finally threw up his hands and sent me to the IMATCH (Interdisciplinary Method for Assessment and Treatment of Chronic Headache) at the Cleveland Clinic. It is a 3 week outpatient program, 8 AM – 5 PM Mon – Friday. They admit 3 patients a week so the staff to patient ratio is high. IT CHANGED MY LIFE. I still get migraines, but they are significantly less frequent and less painful. I am no longer going to the ER or missing work. I take Toprimate for preventative and Imitrex Injection for abortive and they work in combination 99% of the time. And I get Botox injections every 3 months. What a difference. Insurance paid for the program, but the flights, hotel and food was out-of-pocket. If you have intractable migraines that are interfering in your ability to manage your life in many aspects, I urge you to think about getting more info.

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Andrea1961,
    Thanks for sharing. I don’t know much about the program, although I’ve been to the Jefferson Headache Center in Philly.

    Would you share more of what they do during those 3 weeks? Are you getting IV medication infusions? Are you learning biofeedback or other alternative methods? Do you have to detox off all medications?
    Any info would be great, people are always asking about places to get stellar treatment.

    Thanks!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Andrea

    I’ve been asked to talk about what it is that goes on during the three weeks of the outpatient program at IMATCH. After the orientation of the first day, the next four days is spent getting IV’s to wean you off all the medications you’ve been overusing – I was overdoing it on Imitrex, narcotics and a bunch of other stuff – and also medication to prevent withdrawal at the same time. I was hooked up to the IV for five hours each day for the remaining four days of the week. Then after that it’s off to the gym for an hour workout of either cardio or strength training. And if you’re scheduled for it – twice a week – individual physical therapy. The next two weeks are a mix of groups and individual sessions such as sleep hygiene, nutrition, stress management, relapse prevention, triggers, time management, a lot of different relaxation groups, individual psychotherapy sessions, a couple of biofeedback sessions, meetings with the neurologist, more physical therapy. Once a week, there are meetings with the entire team to get feedback on how you are doing. Once a week there’s a family meeting. Family members can come in person, call in or Skype in. Every day you work out in the gym. Towards the end of your stay you work on discharge planning and getting back into your life. They stress that the program is not designed to cure migraines, nothing will do that. It’s a chronic illness. The program is designed to help you adapt and live a better life with your migraines.

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