Migraines. If you have them, just the mention of the word can fill you with a sense of dread. They can be hard to diagnose, and at times hard to treat.
What Are Migraine Headaches?
There are known causes for many headaches that routinely have us reaching for the ibuprofen or aspirin bottle. Sinus headaches, for example, are caused by pressure in the frontal cavities of the skull. The pain is normally associated with infection or inflammation of the nasal passages and can be easily diagnosed and remedied.
On the other hand, migraine headaches may be more difficult to diagnose because they are so different from patient to patient. Some patients have visual clues that a headache is coming, called auras. These range from dots of lights to blurring or even loss of vision in part of one eye. Some patients report temporary dizziness or even uncontrollable yawning. Other migraine sufferers do not have any visual clues at all.
The International Headache Society has come up with criteria for classifying a headache without auras as a migraine. These are:
- 5 or more known severe headaches
- 4 hours to 3 days in duration, containing at least
- 2 of these four characteristics—unilateral (one side) location, pulsing pain, moderate to severe pain intensity, aggravated by physical activity (including walking)
- plus at least 1 additional symptom of nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sound.
How Can NS2 Help?
One of our physicians, Dr. Winkelmann, has extensive experience in treating migraine headaches as part of his physical medicine and rehabilitation practice. His advice to migraine sufferers is this: “If you have 15 or more migraine headaches in one month and have tried unsuccessfully to treat these headaches with multiple prescription medications; or, if you have fewer than 15 migraines but the pain levels are such that it warrants increased intervention, Botox injections may be right for you.”
Botox for migraines … isn’t that for wrinkles? Yes, but Botox is also used as a migraine prevention medication. Researchers are not sure exactly how or why it works to prevent headaches for up to 90 days per treatment. That unknown factor is why it is recommended to carefully choose the right physician for Botox treatment. As with most areas of treatment, experience is key. Dr. Winkelmann has been using and teaching other doctors to use Botox injections for the last 20 years.
What Should I Do Next?
If you are ready to see if Botox treatment for migraines is right for you, request an appointment with Dr. Winkelmann. He and his staff will take your history and talk to you about your experiences with migraines. You and your headaches will be in good hands at NewSouth NeuroSpine.