Headaches are something that everyone deals with throughout the course of their life, but not everyone endures a migraine headache. Migraines affect 37 million people in the United States, 70% of whom are women. This is not just a tension headache or a sinus headache that goes away with over-the-counter medication. Ninety percent of those who suffer from migraines claim that the severity of the headache is so debilitating they must miss work. The cause of migraines is unknown, although they are more common in people who have a family history of migraines. A cure for migraine headaches is not fully understood, but doctors do agree on the progression of a migraine and the symptoms that are most common.
Migraine headaches follow a pattern and many people receive warning signs that a migraine is approaching. This should alert the migraine sufferer to take medication in an attempt to lessen the severity of the symptoms. The first stage is known as prodrome. In this stage, symptoms like constipation, neck stiffness, food cravings, frequent yawning, and extreme mood changes occur a couple of days before the headache begins. Some people do not notice the symptoms in the prodrome stage because they can be extremely subtle. The next stage, aura, may be missed, but 36% of migraine sufferers experience it. Aura is a symptom of the nervous system that largely affects your senses, including vision and touch. Specifically, you may be warned about an oncoming migraine if you have blurred vision, see flashes of light, different shapes, or bright spots. You may also have the sensation of needles pricking your arms and legs, feel weak or numb in your limbs or on your face. Typically these symptoms will build up over time and last for 20 to 60 minutes. The third stage is the attack of the migraine headache itself. Unlike most headaches, a migraine can last from four hours to three days and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, or smells. Migraines are known to cause severe, sometimes throbbing, pain on one side of the head. The final stage, known as post-drome, occurs after the migraine has subsided. Your head may no longer be throbbing, but you feel exhausted. Other symptoms of post-drome include confusion, dizziness, weakness, and a continued sensitivity to light or sound.
Eighty-five percent of migraine sufferers reported that their headaches include a pulsating pain, 80% admitted to sensitivity to light, and 73% said that nausea accompanied their migraine. Fifty-three percent of those who suffer from migraines reveal that their pain is so disabling they are forced to reduce their amount of activity or stay in bed until the headache subsides. Because each person is different, the symptoms and duration of symptoms associated with migraines vary. This includes the frequency that migraines occur. Sixty-three percent of recorded migraine sufferers endure at least one migraine every month, and 25% have one or more migraine on a weekly basis.
Most people attempt to ward off symptoms by taking an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Others retreat to a dark, quiet room hoping to sleep the headache away. But if your self-help attempts or current prescription isn’t working, leaving you to endure a headache with a severity that is debilitating or a frequency that is unbearable, you may consider Botox. Botox injections may be the unconventional friend you need to say goodbye to your migraines. Botox works by stopping the release of chemicals associated with pain transmission in the brain. Injections essentially stop a migraine from forming by hitting pause on the pain networks. At NewSouth NeuroSpine, Dr. Winklemann and Dr. Collipp have been using Botox injections to treat migraines for many years. They have extensive experience in both medicine and rehabilitation and may be able to offer you relief from migraine headaches. If you experience multiple migraines each month or have such severe pain that medication no longer reduces your symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Winklemann or Dr. Collipp today.