Radio frequency ablation: New migraine-fighting procedure

Migraine sufferers know that when their head is pounding, all they can think about is finding relief. 

A new nerve-numbing procedure can soothe the brain pain.

Patient Karlee Howard has had migraines for as long as she can remember.

"It was like a stabbing, dull, all the time aching pain in the back of my head that would never go away," explained the 20-year-old woman.

In seventh grade, Howard was diagnosed with a birth defect called Chiari Malformation. 

It's a condition where her brain could not fit inside her skull.

"I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk, I couldn't feed myself. I learned sign language to communicate with my mother," she said.

While Howard underwent a procedure where part of her skull was removed to relieve pressure, her migraines remained. 

She used acupuncture, massages, prescription medications, but nothing worked. 

That was, until, she tried a new procedure.

Dr. Seth Billodeaux, a pain specialist with Memorial Medical Group explained, "I was able to numb up the third occipital nerve around her spine. She then reported her pain relief over a two to three day period."

Howard's relief was significant. 

Billodeaux moved forward with a radio frequency ablation, using heat and electricity to permanently numb the problematic nerve. 

The process took about fifteen minutes under mild anesthesia.

"I figured that I'd wake up and five days later I would have a headache again, but that hasn't happened. I've been 100 percent no headache," Howard said.

The size of the needle is about the size of a pencil point. 

There is a chance that there will be numbness on the head where the ablation happened.

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