A common type of debilitating headache is a migraine. It is about three times more common in women than in men. Migraines tend to be severe and are often associated with nausea and sensitivity to light, noise or smells.
People often mistake migraines for other types of headaches. Since many people don’t recognize the symptoms of a migraine, they don’t talk with their doctor about treatment options. Gundersen’s Headache Clinic can provide treatment options that work best for migraine headaches.
Often, migraines are mistaken for a sinus headache and are treated with sinus medicine. This can actually make the headaches worse if used too often. Migraine-specific prescription medications can often stop severe headaches and help people return to normal function within two hours.
Migraines frequently have triggers. These can be many things including:
- Certain foods
- Lack of sleep
- Change in the weather.
To identify triggers, people should keep a log of migraines and share the information with their primary care provider.
To reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, avoid triggers by adopting lifestyle changes such as:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Eliminating caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
- Establishing consistent sleeping and eating patterns
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing stress and anxiety
While it’s common to reach for a pill when a headache strikes, people should be careful of chronic overuse of medications. Pain relieving medications taken too often may do more harm than good. They can hamper the body’s natural pain-fighting mechanisms leaving headache sufferers even more susceptible to pain after their effects wear off.
Botox® use for Chronic Migraine
Chronic migraine is a distinct and severe neurological disorder impacting an estimated 3.2 million Americans and characterized by patients who have a history of migraine and suffer from headaches on 15 or more days per month with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer.
Botox® is the first clinically studied preventative treatment to be approved by the FDA specifically for this debilitated patient population. It is not known whether Botox® is safe or effective to prevent headaches in patients with migraine who have 14 or fewer headaches each month (episodic migraine). The recommended re-treatment schedule for Botox® is every 12 weeks.
If you’re bothered by recurring headaches, talk to your primary healthcare provider or contact the Headache Clinic at (608) 775-9000 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 59000.