Initiating Discussions About Chronic Migraine and the Next Steps: Dolores Santamaria, MD


The director of the Headache Center at Allegheny Health Network provided perspective on the process of identifying a patient with chronic migraine and initiating a proper treatment plan. [WATCH TIME: 7 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 7 minutes

"For some patients, when I ask, ‘why are you here,’ they say headache evolution, and some will say migraine evolution. That’s a big difference. Some already call them migraine either because they were diagnosed prior or because they read."

Chronic migraine, which impacts on average less than 3% of the global population, typically evolves from episodic migraine, suggestive of progressive neurological disorder. With an average of at least 15 headache days per month, this type of disorder imparts a significantly greater burden than episodic migraine with disability scores reported to be nearly twice as high. Combining medicine with behavioral measures and lifestyle can often be the most effective way to handle migraines.

At the first sign of migraine, taking a breaking, turning off the lights, sipping a caffeinated drink in small amounts, can all be useful tips. Eating habits can also influence migraines. Being consistent with the times patients eat at, not skipping meals, logging a food journal, and avoiding foods that trigger migraines, are also tactics used to lessen the severity. For Dolores Santamaria, MD, the first initial assessment of a patient with potential chronic migraine is critical to helping establish a strong support system and treatment plan.

Santamaria, director of the Headache Center at Allegheny Health Network, claims that it’s important to distinguish a patient’s condition as either headache or migraine, as that might better allude to the issues they’re experiencing. In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Santamaria provided perspective on the approach to chronic migraine and the importance of a thorough initial evaluation. Additionally, she discussed the necessary steps clinicians should take following diagnosis and the treatment decisions that occur.

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