Suffering from chronic migraine, the unwelcome companion?
17 March 2019| Last updated on 27 March 2019
If you have been diagnosed with migraine, suffering migraine headaches so often and wondering if there's anything that can be done to reduce the recurrent agony, this could be of great interest to you!
In a nutshell, migraine is a type of headache that tends to recur and causes a moderate to severe pain that is often described as throbbing or pounding. It usually begins on one side of the head and may shift from one side to the other. This debilitating form of headache is often aggravated by exposure to light, noise, or by physical activity.
Typically, a migraine attack lasts between few hours up to 3 days, during which the unfortunate person has to live through an anguish of pain, light and noise sensitivity, loss of appetite, sense of fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting. As a matter of fact, migraine headaches are the world`s most pervasive neurological disorder, as it characteristically compromises the ability of people to work and function normally and disturbs their quality of life.
What adds more to the torment is that getting to the root causes for this monthly `menace` can be challenging still. It was largely believed among scientists that it happens because of some sort of a vascular problem – an abnormal dilatation of blood vessels inside the brain. Nevertheless, recent research advocates a neurological element in which certain sensory inputs from light, sound and an assortment of other triggers (such as lack of sleep, dehydration, perfumes, house-cleaning products, emotional stress, air pollution, food allergy, etc.) can overwhelm the brain and unleash an avalanche of the classical dreaded symptoms.
Depending on how often do people experience symptoms, they may be suffering from episodic migraines or chronic migraines. If weeks or months go between migraines, this tends to be known as episodic migraine. Chronic migraine is diagnosed when someone suffers at least 15 migraine attacks per month for at least three months with longer headaches on average.
This ailment is sometimes known as "transformed migraine" because the migraines tend to be episodic initially, but over time, the attacks "transform" and become more frequent—in some cases almost daily. The pain and the associating myriad of symptoms obviously will reduce the person`s ability to function properly, and the ensuing struggle with normal life expectations can lead to dependence on medications to function.
According to the National Headache Foundation, clinical studies have shown that nearly 80% of those with transformed or chronic migraine overuse pain-relieving medications. The daily intake of `rescue` analgesics, whether medically-prescribed or over-the-counter, may relieve the discomfort temporarily, but by time may ultimately increase the frequency of migraine attacks, and put the patient at a higher risk for development of `Rebound` headaches; known as Medication Overuse Headache. Moreover, there are health consequences to overusing such medications; side effects impacting the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and other body systems.
It's time to take control and rid yourself of the pain!
Nowadays, who hasn`t heard yet of Botox®, the miraculous savior of aging women, and men! It is responsible for generations of smooth foreheads and wrinkle-free skins all over the world. But Botox® can also bring relief to so many people who suffer from chronic medical conditions.
In 2010, the US-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted the use of Botox® (onabotulinum A) as the only approved medication for chronic migraine. It has been proven to reduce the number of hours of headache per month by about a third and can also reduce the severity of symptoms when they occur, with some studies concluding that this therapy can reduce monthly attacks by 50 percent or more in some people.
Botox® is administered by injection (using a very tiny needle that feels like a pinprick and the discomfort is short-lived, with most people tolerating it easily without any difficulty) in different areas of the head and neck, where it enters nerve endings and blocks the release of chemicals (known as neurotransmitters) that carry pain signals from the brain.
Botox prevents migraine headaches before they start, but takes time to work, and patients witness increasing benefit with an increase in the number of treatment cycles. Patients typically get injections every 10 - 12 weeks to dull or prevent migraine pain, and usually they could witness positive results 2 to 3 weeks after their first treatment.
A FINAL WORD
Chronic migraine is a challenging problem. It is important to be attentive about identifying and avoiding triggers, and to seek your doctor's advice if your episodic migraines become chronic.
Fortunately, Botox® Injections are growing in popularity and have proved effective in preventing chronic migraines or markedly reducing the severity and frequency of attacks. The process is quick and of low risk under expert hands, and it can be your ticket to increasingly-more symptom-free days, and a far better quality of life.
Dr. Umesh Nihalani, MD
Board Certified Aesthetic Medicine by American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine