Another doctor in my office was lamenting about a 19-year-old who she recently saw for headaches that wouldn’t go away. They had even gone so far as to have a brain MRI to rule out tumors when a neighbor suggested she get Botox. She did and instantly the headache was gone and has yet to return. The doctor was perplexed…Botox? Yes, as a matter of fact, Botox was recently approved as a treatment to consider for migraine sufferers.
As we are all well aware, Botox is typically used on the face to alleviate wrinkles and give the appearance of younger looking skin. However, if you experience migraines at least 15 days a month, you can ask your health care provider about the benefits of using it on your head. It typically involves 30 or so injections placed into your forehead, temporal area, back of the head, neck and shoulders. Right now the advice is to have a head treatment every three months.
If you are looking for a more natural approach to help your migraines, then try these suggestions first before submitting to the needle:
1) Eliminate caffeine, chocolate, wine and cheese for 30 days. You may experience a "detox" headache if you are used to drinking caffeine everyday, however these are common triggers to migraines.
2) Eat protein at every meal and skip on the sugar. Many headaches are triggered by skipping meals or eating a high carbohydrate/high sugar meal. I used to treat a nurse for headaches who would eat cereal for breakfast and a granola bar for her mid-morning snack. By lunch she had a pounding headache. When I suggested she eat a high protein/high fiber cereal and a hard boiled egg as a snack all her headaches stopped.
3) Stay hydrated! Dehydration is an instant trigger for headaches. Try to drink at least 8 glasses everyday and see how you feel after a week.
4) Watch your hormones! Many women are triggered by the ups and downs of estrogen and progesterone. If you notice your headaches around ovulation and just before your period then consider hormone testing.
5) Consider B-vitamins – especially riboflavin. This powerful nutrient is important to ward off migraines and helps beat stress. Try taking 400 mg per day.