WHAT ARE MIGRAINES?
Migraines can severely affect the quality of the sufferer’s life and can prevent them from carrying out normal daily activities. However, a number of treatments are available which can reduce the symptoms and prevent further attacks. Botox is an effective method for alleviating the symptoms of migraines with less side effects and hassle compared to other treatment methods.
The frequency of migraines varies from patient to patient. Some patients may have migraines several times a week, others may only have a migraine once every few years. Likewise, the severity of the migraine is also variable. While some migraines may be managed using over-the-counter painkillers, others may cause patients to have paralysis, slurred speech, a blinding pain, fever, seizure, double vision or a rash. In these more severe instances, patients should see a doctor as soon as possible.
CAUSES OF MIGRAINES
The cause of migraines is unknown, though they are thought to be the result of temporary changes in the blood vessels, nerve signals and chemicals in the brain. Genetics may also play a role, with many sufferers noting that they have at least one relative who also experiences migraines.
Common triggers that stimulate migraines include hormones, stress, anxiety, depression, tiredness, poor posture, jet lag, low blood sugar, strenuous exercise, irregular eating patterns, dehydration, caffeine, specific foods or drinks, brightly or flickering lights, smoking, loud noises and changes in climate.
Some women may experience menstrual-related migraines that usually occur around the time of the period. These sufferers may find that their migraines improve after the menopause, although the menopause may also worsen symptoms.
If a specific trigger is causing migraines, patients are advised to avoid this as it may help to reduce the risk of experiencing migraine. Patients are also advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle
The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache that occurs at the front or on one side of the head. The pain is usually a severe throbbing sensation that gets worse with movements and prevents sufferers from carrying out normal activities. In some cases, the pain may occur on both sides of the head and may affect the face or neck.
Other symptoms commonly associated with a migraine include nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to sound and light. There are several types of migraine, including those that come with warning signs (migraine with aura), those that occur without any warning (migraine without aura) and those where no headache develops (migraine aura without headache).
Some sufferers may also experience other symptoms including sweating, poor concentration, feeling very hot or cold, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Symptoms of aura, the temporary warning symptoms which are experienced by roughly one third of migraine sufferers, include: visual problems such as seeing flashing lights, patterns or blind spots, numbness or a tingling sensation, dizziness, difficulty speaking and loss of consciousness.
Migraines usually last between four hours and three days, although patients can feel very tired for up to a week after the migraine attack.
There is no definitive cure for migraines, although there are a number of treatments available that can alleviate the symptoms. Common treatments for migraines include painkillers, triptans, anti-sickness medicines, combination medicines and transcranial magnetic stimulation. However, these treatment methods often only work temporarily and can cause side effects such as dizziness, stomach ulcers, drowsiness, irritability and muscle tremors which can severely impact on the sufferer’s quality of life.
BOTOX FOR MIGRAINES
Botox (botulinum toxin type-A) was licensed for the treatment of chronic migraine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in July 2010.
In the mid-1990s, a number of patients reported an improvement in their headaches having received Botox for other reasons. Further clinical trials since this time found that Botox was particularly effective in treating chronic migraines. Unlike in the other conditions that Botox is used to treat, when used for migraines it is not thought to work by relaxing overactive muscles. Instead, it has been shown to inhibit the release of peripheral nociceptive neurotransmitters, which is then believed to have a knock-on effect on the central pain processing system that generates migraine headaches.
TREATMENT WITH SKIN MEDICAL
At Skin Medical, the Botox procedure is performed by doctors or qualified nurse prescribers. We only use FDA-approved Allergan botox, which has been rigorously tested for its safety and effectiveness and is regarded as the gold standard in botulinum toxin type-A. Our clinics are registered with and regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure high standards of patient care. The consultation will be with the nurse or doctor who will perform the treatment. Patients will discuss their medical history and presenting problem, the treatment itself and expected outcomes, and will be given the opportunity to voice any concerns or questions.