Migraines & Headaches Specialist

Dr. Lenny Cohen -  - Neurology

Chicago Neurological Services

Dr. Lenny Cohen

Neurology located in Roscoe Village, Chicago, IL & Oak Park, Oak Park, IL

Migraine headaches can cause severe, debilitating pain and other symptoms that disrupt your everyday life. However, you can find relief at Chicago Neurological Services in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois. As an innovative leader in his field, neurologist Lenny Cohen, MD, has access to the most advanced and effective treatments, including Botox® and occipital nerve blocks, and uses his years of experience to help you achieve long-term relief. If you’re struggling with migraine headaches, call Chicago Neurological Services or schedule a consultation online today.

Migraines & Headaches

What is a migraine headache?

A migraine headache, often just called a migraine, is a commonly recurring headache that causes moderate to severe pain. This pain often seems to throb or pulse and may be located on only one side of your head. Other symptoms include light and sound sensitivity, as well as nausea and general weakness.

Migraine attacks can last hours or even days, essentially disabling you from any normal functions. These attacks may have warning signs, called an aura, before they begin. The aura may include seeing flashes of light, having blind spots in your vision, or numbness and tingling on your face, arm, or leg.

 

What causes a migraine headache?

Scientists and physicians don’t understand the causes of migraines, but they’re believed to come from multiple factors, such as genetics and environment. There are many triggers known to initiate migraine onset alone or in combination with other factors, however. These include:

  • Stress
  • Specific sensory stimuli, like bright lights or strong smells
  • Hormonal fluctuation in women, like changes in estrogen associated with menstruation
  • Specific foods and fasting, like eating something salty or skipping a meal
  • Certain beverages, especially those with alcohol or caffeine
  • Sleep changes, like oversleeping, not sleeping, or jet lag

Your triggers may be entirely specific to you, or could hinge on your environment, and may change over time.

 

How are migraine headaches treated?

Migraines are diagnosed based on your medical history, symptoms, and usually a neurological exam. To rule out other possible causes, Dr. Cohen may use imaging with MRI or CT scans, blood tests to look for infections and toxins, or a spinal tap to assess infection or brain bleeding.

Once a migraine headache begins, a dark, quiet room and pain relief drugs can minimize the discomfort, but if you’re regularly suffering from debilitating migraines, Dr. Cohen may suggest preventive treatment.

Successful prevention has come from many drug classes, including beta blockers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs, as well as pain relievers. However, Botox is the first FDA-approved preventive therapy for chronic migraine headaches. Regular injections to the forehead and neck with Botox prevents migraines before they even start.

A viable alternative to Botox is an occipital nerve block. This injection of steroids and other medications to locations just above your neck at the back of your head works to reduce inflammation and swelling near the occipital nerves, thereby alleviating migraine headache pain and risk.

If you suffer from migraine headaches, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cohen by calling Chicago Neurological Services or using the online booking feature.