How to Get Off Migraine Medications: Trudy’s Story

by Chris Centeno, MD /

how to get off migraine medications

When Trudy first walked into the office I’m not ashamed to say that I was overwhelmed. Not only did she want to know how to get off migraine medications, but also how to get off other meds she was taking for her neck, back, shoulders, and knees. She could only stand for 5 minutes before needing to sit and yet had aspirations of returning to ATVing around the beautiful trails of Montana. Was it possible to use regenerative medicine techniques to get this poor disabled woman this far?

Getting Off of Migraine Medication is About What’s Really Causing the Headaches

Most patients believe that once they get a diagnosis of migraine headache, it means that their headaches are caused by vascular problems in the brain. The truth, like many things in medicine, is always a bit more complex. More common is a neck problem that sets that migraine headache storm off in the brain. So like many patients taking migraine headache medications, Trudy’s advanced hands-on exam showed that her neck was causing her headache problem.

Most headache sufferers (and many neurologists) don’t realize that the upper neck facet joints refer pain into the head. Combine that with the fact that fewer and fewer doctors are being trained how to inject these joints under x-ray guidance and patients like Trudy often go undiagnosed. Trudy also had multiple neck disc bulges and a backwards neck curve.

To help her here, I injected her own super concentrated platelets into these joints, tightened down her lax neck ligaments with precise injections of the growth factors isolated from her blood platelets and used the same mix to treat the irritated neck nerves. The result? She went from 12 Relpax a month to 2!

Her Headaches were Just Part of the Problem

However, that was only the beginning of her issues, as her MRI images later showed spinal stenosis in her back, a slipped vertebra, disc bulges in her upper back, and knee arthritis. Since she also had very little stabilizing muscle left in her back, I was really concerned that she might be too far gone for us to help, but I could see I was her only hope so I agreed to try an experiment. I injected highly concentrated platelets (much higher levels than 99% of practicing physicians can muster) in her knees to see if she would respond to anything. Much to my surprise and her delight, it worked to dramatically reduce knee pain and improve her function. At that point I agreed to tackle the rest of her problems.

Her low back was a big challenge, as in order to return her to that ATV riding that part of her body needed to come into line, as she would throw it out by riding over bumps. Again, most patients and surgeons don’t realize that the ligaments that compress the nerves (ligamentum flavum or LF) in the low back are connected to other ligaments that can be tightened through injection. When these secondary ligaments are tightened, often the LF is no longer able to place pressure on the nerves and the patient can stand for longer. So rather than cut out these ligaments and the bones in a massive surgery that might destroy her back forever, just simple injections as above aimed at the ligaments, joints, and nerves got her from just 5 minutes of standing to just over an hour!

Getting Back to What She Loves

While we also worked on her knees and other areas, when I saw Trudy back this week I was dumbfounded. She was not only able to reduce migraine headache medication and stand for more normal periods of time, but she was also back to riding her ATV with her husband! This was something that just a few months ago was off limits.

The upshot? Trudy is one of those patients that surprises me. When I first evaluated her I thought we had little chance of being able to help her reach her goal because her imaging and exam were that bad. However, it just goes to how me that sometimes aggressively treating multiple areas using the patient’s own blood platelets and stem cells with precise imaging guidance will produce results that will amaze not only the patient, but also the doctor!

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5 thoughts on “How to Get Off Migraine Medications: Trudy’s Story

  1. Janine McArtor

    How long after the facet injections do you expect to see improvement? Do you need multiple sets of injections?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Janine,
      Whether one or multiple sets of injections depends on the situation. I have inquired about how long after the injections improvement would be expected.

    2. Regenexx Team

      Janine,
      If this is the right approach, with our traditional regenerative medicine options relief should be in 1-3 weeks, but that also depends on what else is happening in the neck (i.e. longer if instability is present). Most patients would get a series of from 2-4 injections about 4-6 weeks apart. If we’re performing just diagnostic injections, that should “block” the pain within a few minutes of the injection.

  2. Josie B.

    I had my first neck platelet injections and after 3 weeks I noticed that the muscles weren’t as tight and I had less restriction. I will be getting another procedure in a few days.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Josie,
      Thanks for the update. Very glad to hear your platelet injections are helping! While each situation is unique, reports from patients are very helpful to others.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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