A migraine is a very painful type of headache. People who get migraines often describe the pain as pulsing or throbbing in one area of the head. During migraines, people are very sensitive to light and sound. They may also become nauseated and vomit.
Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Some people can tell when they are about to have a migraine because they see flashing lights or zigzag lines or they temporarily lose their vision.
Many things can trigger a migraine. These include:
- Lack of food or sleep
- Exposure to light
- Hormonal changes (in women)
Doctors used to believe migraines were linked to the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Now they believe the cause is related to genes that control the activity of some brain cells. Medicines can help prevent migraine attacks or help relieve symptoms of attacks when they happen. For many people, treatments to relieve stress can also help.
Botox received FDA approval for the treatment of chronic migraine in October 2010.
Botox is used for preventing migraines in adults with chronic migraine (migraines that occur at least 15 days per month with a headache lasting at least 4 hours per day).
How Botox for migraines works
Botox works by blocking the release of certain brain chemicals including acetylcholine and by blocking the movement of certain nerves and muscles. It is not completely known how Botox reduces headache pain and stiffness. A potential reason might be that Botox blocks nerves that send pain messages to the brain and relaxes muscles so they are less sensitive to pain.