Migraines Q & A

What are migraines?

Migraines are especially painful headaches that can last for several days. They cause intense throbbing in your head, typically in one area, and often cause nausea and vomiting as well.

Sensitivity to sound and light and visual disturbances are also common symptoms of migraines. Classical migraines cause what’s known as an aura, where you get temporary blind spots in your eyes and see flashing lights. Common migraines don’t cause auras.

People who suffer from migraines can find them so severely debilitating they’re unable to function during an attack and have to retreat to a quiet, dark place until the symptoms subside.

What causes migraines?

So far no-one’s found a specific cause for migraines. It’s likely that the cause relates to abnormal brain activity, which causes changes in the signals sent from the nerves and disrupts chemical levels and blood flow around the brain.

More women tend to get migraines than men, and they usually start to affect you when you’re a child or young adult. Many people find their migraines happen after experiencing a trigger. This could be a psychological trigger like being under severe stress, or it could be something like a smell or certain food.

What treatments are there for migraines?

Migraines aren’t curable, but you can manage them and reduce their impact on your life with help from the team at Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine.

The first stage in developing an effective treatment plan for your migraines is to keep a diary in which you record the details of each attack, including:

  • What you ate
  • What you drank
  • What you were doing
  • How you were feeling
  • The first symptoms
  • Timings of symptoms
  • Length of symptoms

If you keep a record in as much detail as possible, you might well be able to find potential triggers for your migraines, and take steps to avoid them. It’s also important to manage your stress, have good quality sleep at regular times, and get plenty of exercise.

The team at Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine are experts in finding the best combination of treatments for each patient to help relieve the burden of migraines. There’s also a range of medications available, some designed to prevent migraines, some to reduce the intensity of your symptoms when a migraine strikes.

The Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine team also uses medical Botox® and sphenopalatine ganglion blocks to treat migraines.

Botox

Although it’s not clear exactly how it works, Botox seems to act by interfering with the chemical messages in your brain that carry pain signals.

If you regularly get 15 or more migraines every month, then Botox could help. About every three months, your provider at Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine injects a series of doses into the:

  • Bridge of the nose
  • Temples
  • Forehead
  • Back of the head
  • Back of the neck
  • Upper back

It can take 10 to 14 days for the Botox to take effect, but for many patients, the injections significantly reduce the intensity of their migraines when the next attack takes place.

Sphenopalatine ganglion block

The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a bundle of nerves connected to the trigeminal nerve, which has close links to headaches and migraines. A sphenopalatine ganglion block is an injection of local anesthetic with a neurolytic agent to relieve migraine pain.

To find out more about treatments for migraines, call Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine today, or book an appointment online.