A migraine is an acute throbbing or pulsing in a specific area of the head. Commonly a tension headache is mistaken for a migraine headache, but migraines are much more severe and last considerably longer – up to 72 hours in some cases. The pain of a migraine is more localized and is usually concentrated on one side of your head.
A migraine attack is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and/or increased sensitivity to light and noise. Sometimes migraine headaches are preceded by some kind of sensory warning (“aura”) such as tingling in the hands and feet, seeing flashes of light or experiencing blind spots. Movement and bending over can make the condition worse, so most migraine sufferers tend to lie in a dark room without noise or distractions.
While much is unknown about this chronic disorder, the environment and genetics both seem to play a role in the cause of migraines. Migraine headaches run in families – 70% will have a close relative who suffers from “bad headaches” – although there is no clear genetic reason for this.
Environmental triggers such as light or scents can also be a cause of migraines. Other common triggers that have been identified to cause migraines include hormones, food, stress, hunger, change in sleeping pattern, excess sensory stimuli, certain medications and a change in weather (barometric pressure).
While there is no cure for migraines, there is a treatment to keep them under control. At Lougheed Laser, we use Botox® Therapeutic injections to prevent migraine headaches. The Botox® is injected directly into specific trigger points, causing the muscles in the face, neck and head to relax. This method has been proven to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. The Botox® usually starts to work within three to four days, but can sometimes take up to two weeks or more to experience optimum results.