Migraine headaches are a symptom of a condition known as migraine. Migraine headaches vary in intensity and duration; common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
While there are universal triggers associated with migraine, individual causes vary and much about migraine pain remains unknown.
If you experience migraine symptoms for more than 15 days a month, Botox injections may help reduce both the frequency and the severity by preventing activation of pain networks in the brain.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Botox injections for migraine or call 719-473-3272 to schedule an appointment today.
What Causes Migraine Pain?
In the past, migraine pain was thought to be associated with changes in blood flow to the brain. While doctors agree that blood flow can contribute to pain, today it’s believed migraines start when overactive nerve cells activate the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for face and head sensation.
Once this nerve is activated, the body responds by releasing chemicals such as serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP (CGRP makes blood vessels in the lining of the brain swell). Neurotransmitters cause inflammation and the pain commonly associated with migraine headaches.
It’s estimated that nearly one in four U.S. households includes someone who suffers from migraine pain. Risk factors include:
- Sex—women are more likely to have migraines.
- Age—migraine headaches are most common in people between the ages of 10 and 40.
- Other conditions—mood or sleep disorders and epilepsy can increase the odds of migraine symptoms.
Patients who experience migraine symptoms for more than 15 days a month are often advised to document triggers in a headache journal. Triggers vary among individuals and might include things like:
- Food—some patients have found that certain foods or beverages trigger migraine symptoms (e.g., cheese, caffeinated beverages, MSG).
- Stress—stress has been associated with chemical releases that restrict blood flow in the brain.
- Hormones—woman often report that migraine symptoms occur before or during their period, while pregnant or during menopause.
- Weather—quick shifts in barometric pressure and even altitude can trigger a migraine.
- Senses—loud sounds, bright lights, and strong smells.
Notes about the circumstances leading up to symptoms can help providers proscribe an effective treatment plan.
If you have questions about migraine headaches or if you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options, please call 719-473-3272 or contact a CSNA representative online.
What Are the Symptoms of Migraine?
Just like triggers, migraine symptoms are often unique to the patient. However, common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
While there are several types of migraine, most of them occur in stages: prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome.
It’s estimated that nearly 60 percent of people who have migraines notice prodrome symptoms hours (sometimes a few days) before a migraine headache. Prodrome symptoms include sense sensitivity, fatigue, mood shifts, food cravings or lack of appetite.
Aura symptoms involve blurred or wavy vision, tunnel vision, speech challenges and a heaviness when moving the arms or legs. These symptoms are triggered in the nervous system and commonly affect vision. Fortunately, these symptoms often last less than an hour.
Most migraine attacks begin as a dull ache or throbbing pain that intensifies over time. Pain often moves from one side of the head to the other. Migraine pain can be felt throughout the entire head or just one specific region. Most migraine headaches last a few hours; however, severe attacks can last several days.
Once an attack has subsided, patients often report feeling weak, tired and irritable. Postdrome symptoms generally last no longer than a day and often subside in a few hours.
Migraine Treatments Available at CSNA
Migraine headaches are diagnosed and treated by a neurologist. Family history, migraine journal and medical history help inform a diagnosis.
In the event a patient’s condition is unusual or suddenly becomes severe, your doctor may request tests (e.g., MRI or CT scan) to rule out other causes.
In addition to abortive and preventive drugs for migraines, doctors have also found success using Botox to treat migraine headaches.
Botox injections for migraines typically last 10-12 weeks and many patients find that pain and frequency decrease by nearly 50 percent. It can take up to six months to maximize the benefits of Botox in a treatment plan.
Learn more about migraine treatment options at CSNA. Call 719-473-3272 or CLICK HERE to contact a CSNA representative online.