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The beauty of a migraine
Posted By:Hajas On 2/19/2007

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A migraine is more than just a headache - its a devastating condition that can destroy a person by relentlessly interfering with their day-to-day life. But help may be at hand from an area of medicine normally associated with beauty clinics than blistering head pain. The use of botox is now believed to be helpful in curing migraine, though it has still to be officially recognised by the medical establishment.
A mild migraine can last from an hour to an entire day, while the more blinding ones can wipe people out for days on end. Some migraine sufferers have to take special medications to stabilise their nerves, and thats on top of general pain relief prescriptions, which can bring on harsh side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Its not a pretty picture for migraine suffers, who, depending on the severity of the migraine, can spend up to half their lives locked in a dark room with a stash of pain killers.
Rina, a 27 year-old media executive working in Dubai is what you may call a silent sufferer she suffers from excruciating throbbing pains in her head, but like many of us, has avoided a trip to the doctors to confirm the pain as a migraine. I get side-splitting headaches which I self-prescribed as migraines, but I dont know whether they actually fit that medical definition, says Rina. What I do know is that whenever I get them I am practically immobilised by the pain. I cannot tolerate any sounds, any light and even opening my eyes can throw me off because of the pain. The pain just comes out of the blue. Although they say foods like chocolate, cheese and the weather can cause migraines, Ive found that they are completely random.
What triggers a migraine is wide and varied. Nutritionist Belinda Rennie working at the Osteopathic Health Centre on Al Wasl Road suggests, however, that there are Dubai-specific reasons for migraines. People work hard in Dubai and are often so stressed that they will actually forget to eat from morning until night, says Rennie. This is extremely dangerous, because they are operating on low blood sugar levels and people who are susceptible to migraines will trigger one from not eating all day.
Food intolerances are also proven triggers of migraines, as is stress, menstrual periods, fatigue, too much caffeine, smoking and bright and flickering light. In order to keep migraines at bay its recommended that sufferers watch what they eat and drink, curb the caffeine and try to deal with stress - even if that means driving along Sheikh Zayed Road in the slow lane and trying not to sound your horn at bad drivers.
If all that fails, there is the botox alternative - not FDA approved and still in the more experimental stages. But nevertheless its proving to be a migraine stopper. Initially, the goal of this particular treatment was to help fade frown lines and wrinkles, but a number of studies have since found that cosmetic botox injections have the power to curb headache pain too.
And this isnt the first incidence of off-the-label use of Botox. Doctors have long used it in treating crossed eyes, twisted necks and stiff muscles.
Dr Tony Moore is a plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon working at Healthcare city in Dubai and he has been noticing the world over that women who get botox treatment tend to not get as many headaches.
Women were coming in for some botox, because they didnt like those frown lines or the crows feet. But some of these women also tended to get migraines behind their eyes or in their temple area. Through default it was discovered that some people were not getting any headaches at all after botox, while others had decreased incidence, frequency and severity of their headaches, says Dr Moore.
Botox in its essence works by interfering with the ability of a nerve to communicate with a muscle, therefore the botox renders certain receptors around muscles inactive for a period of up to four months, which means that the area is also numbed to migraine pain. Anyone suffering from severe head pain should be checked out by a neurologist to be sure it is a migraine and not something more serious like a brain tumour, says Dr Moore.
But if it is a migraine, botox could be an option to ease severe pain. Keep a chart for about a month of how frequently you get headaches, where the trigger is, then by applying some botox in that area you can get a cosmetic benefit, but also perhaps a decrease the incidence of migraine in that area. There is no guarantee it will work, but if it does and can give you three or four months of relief, its worth a try.


Keep medication close at hand
You never know when a migraine will strike. So be sure to keep your medication close by. Take it with you wherever you go. Refill your prescription when you still have a few doses left, so that you are never caught without.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Research has shown that it is especially important to maintain a regular sleep pattern. Go to bed around the same time every night and start each day at approximately the same time, even on weekends. Try to avoid naps.


Do migraines run in the family?
Absolutely. If one of your parents suffers from migraine, there is about a 50 per cent higher chance that you will too. A combination of genetic and environmental factors are likely to play a role in the development of migraine.

Will my migraines ever go away?
The peak age for migraines is between 30 and 39. After the age of 50, migraines usually occur less frequently and with less severity.

Is there any connection between smoking and migraines?
Yes. Research has shown that smoking and nicotine are migraine triggers for many individuals.

Is a migraine always only on one side of the head?
No. Migraine pain can be felt in many different locations such as one or both sides of the head, in the back of the neck, on the face, around the eyes, or in the sinuses.

If allergies or the weather seem to give me a headache, can it be a migraine?
Yes. Weather and allergies can trigger migraines too. And because the same nerves that cause migraine pain also runs through the sinuses, you may feel sinus pain or pressure during a migraine.

What if I have a different kind of headache?
The pain of a migraine can range from mild to severe and debilitating. However, if you experience pain that is different from your usual migraine symptoms, speak to your doctor.

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