Migraine headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches, tension headaches or a variety of other types of head pain. Some of these misdiagnoses are providing doctors with clues for reducing or curing migraines.
You are looking at animation of a migraine headache in progress.
Migraines cause intense, throbbing pain that affects women more frequently than men.
Other patients have other triggers for migraine including weather, wine, or chocolate; and for women, fluctuating estrogen levels.
Bonnie Muir has suffered from migraines for the past 40 years. "I had a headache Tuesday and Friday."
She had up to four a week. Putting her head into a sink full of ice was sometimes the only way to numb the pain. "If the headache is bad, you cannot do anything. You take your medication. Sometimes the medication just does not work."
Medication does not work for many migraine sufferers. Ms. Muir says she felt helpless. "There is a strong sense of being powerless and not being in control of your life."
Dr. Fereidon Behin, an ear, nose and throat specialist, says some migraines occur when the bones in the nasal cavity press on the septum, the wall that divides the nasal cavity.
Dr. Behin says surgery can work for about two-thirds of migraine sufferers. "People that are suffering from migraine, if they have (a) contact point inside their nose, removing the contact point most probably will relieve them from the headache that they have."
Other doctors say surgery is not a cure, but it could help.
Dr. Larry Newman is Bonnie Muir's neurologist. "What I think it will do is it will make the headache much more treatment friendly so that the medications I try on Bonnie will now work optimally."
Ten weeks after surgery, Bonnie Muir had suffered only two mild headaches. "My life is tremendously changed from one that was centered on having to think about when I might get a headache to the point where I do not think about them at all any more."