Migraines and Headaches, Defined
Migraines are recurrent, extremely painful headaches that affect millions of Americans every year. Seventy five percent of migraine sufferers are women. A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, disorientation, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down. Recurring migraines significantly impact the quality of life for those who suffer from them. Some migraine episodes can be so extreme, that it becomes impossible to perform basic functions such as driving a car or going to work. Finding an effective treatment for recurrent migraine headaches has been a medical priority for many years.
The cause of migraine headaches is not clearly understood, although both genetics and environmental factors seem to play a role. Imbalances in brain chemicals, specifically serotonin, which helps regulate pain, may also be involved. Researchers continue to study the role of serotonin in migraines, but we do know that serotonin levels drop dramatically during a migraine attack. Triggers include food, food additives, drinks, stress, sensory stimuli, changes in sleep patterns, physical exertion, changes in the environment and medication.
Offering Migraine Treatment in Los Angeles
Migraines cannot be cured, but they can be treated in several ways. The most common and conventional treatments fall into one of two categories: pain relieving medications and preventative medications. Pain relieving medications can include pain relievers such as Advil or Tylenol, Triptans, Ergots, anti-nausea medications, opioids and glucocorticoids. Preventative medications include cardiovascular drugs, anti-depressant drugs and anti-seizure drugs. Many of these drugs come with unpleasant side effects like nausea, sleepiness, stomach problems and sexual dysfunction. Some people turn to alternative medicine for acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and various herbs. Basically, everyone wonders, what’s the best treatment for migraines in Los Angeles?
At Westside Aesthetics in Los Angeles, we have been using Botox to help treat migraines with great success for about 8 years. In 2001, a serendipitous breakthrough led to the discovery that Botox can be very effective in reducing both the frequency and the intensity of migraine episodes. Botox is an injectable that has been used in cosmetic surgery procedures to reduce the appearance of facial fine lines and wrinkles since the 1980s. Gradually, Botox patients who also suffered migraines began reporting that their headaches and other related symptoms subsided and that their migraine episodes were less frequent and less intense. It became clear that Botox injections were targeting the same nerves and muscles in the face that were involved in migraine attacks. The theory that migraines were due mostly to spasm of blood vessels has been modified to include the effects of facial muscle spasm. It seems that migraines and tension headaches are closely related in that spasm of the facial muscles is involved in triggering and perpetuating migraine episodes. By relaxing this muscle activity in the head and neck, Botox can safely lower the frequency, severity and length of migraine episodes.
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for use in treating migraine headaches. Studies show that Botox is effective against chronic migraines and headache syndromes. Botox has since become a popular method of treatment for migraines and headaches. This important and unexpected discovery gives migraine sufferers a safe alternative to daily prescription medications.
What to Expect From Your Migraine Treatment
Botox treatments consist of several tiny injections that Dr. Rivkin and his staff administer in multiple areas of the head and neck. While no anesthesia is necessary, we may apply ice or a numbing cream to the injection site to reduce any discomfort for the patient. Botox treatments for migraines typically entail treatments at 12-week intervals. While results differ for each patient, the positive effects of each procedure last up to 4 months. Dr. Rivkin has seen that some people who get Botox regularly for migraines tend to need less and less of a dose as their treatment continues.
Dr. Alexander Rivkin’s practice has been focused on Botox and filler injections for the last 10 years. He has treated thousands of patients with Botox at Westside Aesthetics in Los Angeles. Migraines and TMJ disorders constitute a major part of his practice. The muscles and nerves in the face are complex — for safe and effective results, you need a doctor who has both expertise in the effects of Botox and a deep knowledge about the complex web of muscles that contribute to migraines.
Contact Dr. Rivkin today to schedule a complimentary consultation. During your consultation, Dr. Rivkin will thoroughly review your medical history in order to determine the best treatment plan for you. He and his team of experts will answer any questions you may have to ensure you have the best experience and are completely comfortable with the treatment plan.