Botox for Migraines
Botox can prevent migraine headaches. This was first noted by a plastic surgeon who was using it to treat wrinkles and found that his patients told him they had fewer headaches. Botox is currently being extensively studied as a preventive medication for a variety of headaches, including in migraine sufferers with chronic daily headache (meaning having headaches more than 16 days out of the month), with the early data showing that it is effective in reducing the number of headaches in these people.
Quick GuideHeadache Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Migraine Headaches
Migraine headache facts
- Migraine headache is a result of
specific changes within the brain. It causes severe head pain that is often
accompanied by sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.
- Common symptoms of migraine are:
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Severe pain, usually on one side of the head that some individuals
describe as "pounding"
- Other types of headaches can also
cause severe pain, and not all headaches are migraines. For example, some
people describe the pain of cluster headaches as the worst pain they have
- The exact cause of migraines is
not known. Changes in neurotransmitter levels within the brain are thought
to play a role.
- Migraines are diagnosed by the
typical clinical signs and symptoms.
- A number of factors can trigger
migraines to include:
- hormonal changes,
- strong stimuli like loud
- certain foods.
- Treatment of migraine involves
over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.
- Prescription medications used to
relieve the pain of migraine include the triptans, for example,
- sumatriptan (Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro, Zecuity, Treximet),
- rizatriptan (Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT),
- naratriptan Amerge),
- almotriptan (Axert), and
- frovatriptan (Frova).
- Lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise may be
useful to help migraine sufferers manage the triggers of their condition.
- Avoiding dietary triggers of
migraines may be able to help some patients decrease the frequency of
- Some people find that exercises,
such as yoga, that promote muscle relaxation are helpful in pain management.
- Most people with migraines find
their condition to be manageable with a combination of medications and
- Preventive medications of a
variety of drug classes may be used in some patients to decrease the
frequency of migraines.
What is a migraine?
Although many people use the term "migraine" to describe any severe headache, a migraine headache is the result of specific physiologic changes that occur within the brain and lead to the characteristic pain and associated symptoms of a migraine.
Migraine headaches are usually associated with sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. In addition, many patients experience nausea or vomiting. The headache of a migraine often involves only one side of the head but in some cases, patients may experience pain bilaterally or on both sides. The pain of a migraine is often described as throbbing or pounding and it may be made worse with physical exertion.
In some cases, patients with migraines experience specific warning symptoms, or an aura, prior to the onset of their headache. These warning symptoms can range from flashing lights or a blind spot in one eye to numbness or weakness involving one side of the body. The aura may last for several minutes, and then resolves as the head pain begins or may last until the headache resolves. For patients who have never experienced an aura, the symptoms can be frightening and can mimic the symptoms of a stroke.
Not all headaches represent migraines, and migraine is not the only condition that can cause severe and debilitating headaches. For example, cluster headaches are very severe headaches that affect one side of the head in a recurrent manner (occurring in a
"cluster" over time). The pain is sometimes described as "drilling," and can be worse than migraine pain in some cases. Cluster headaches are less common than migraine.
Tension headaches are a more common cause of headache. Thee occur due to contraction of the muscles of the scalp, face, and neck.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/2/2016