Fact or Myth: Does Botox treat migraines?
You’ve probably heard of using Botox injections to smooth facial wrinkles. It’s a miracle cure that reverses the ravages of age. It is used for a variety of different reasons from excessive sweating to gummy smile treatment. What you might not know is this secretive friend of the social elite is rapidly gaining traction as a treatment for a much more debilitating condition. FDA approved since 2010, Botox is now a viable option for chronic migraine relief.
Beyond Cosmetic Injections
Botox, or OnabotulinumtoxinA, is a neurotoxin. The same qualities of this poison which correct crow’s feet and worry lines can be used to block nerve signals and paralyze muscles which contribute to severe headaches.
Sure, if ingested in large quantities you’ll have more to worry about than a headache. Fortunately, Botox is administered in very small amounts in precise locations.
What causes migraines is not known so it is difficult to say exactly how Botox gives relief. It is believed that the injections prevent the release of chemicals known to be associated with migraines. It also disrupts the function of nerves and movement of muscles in areas where pain is felt.
This treatment disrupts your body’s ability to send pain signals to your brain and also relaxes your muscles. Both are key to stopping a migraine in its tracks.
Relief for Chronic Migraines
Even one migraine is too many but the worst sufferers are those who fall in the chronic category. To be ruled chronic, migraines must occur more than fifteen times each month.
Botox treatment is ideal for people with this problem. Because Botox lasts for 10-12 weeks, it works as a preventive measure to drive the total number of headaches down. Studies have also shown that Botox treatment reduces the length of time migraines last and their severity.
Botox is not a recommended treatment for people experiencing less than 15 headaches each month.
Identifying Migraine Headaches
There are many types of headaches. Although most make life miserable, few are as devastating as a migraine. It can be tough to tell them apart but it’s important because Botox is only recommended for migraines.
Here are the signs that your cranial pain is a migraine and not one of its slightly less annoying cousins.
- Throbbing pain on one side of your head
- Eye pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty with sleep
- Tingling or numbness
- Sensitivity to light
Better Quality of Life Through Botox
Botox treatment for migraines is not an immediate fix. Normally, patients begin experiencing results after at least two applications but some notice a change a few weeks after their first injections.
A typical treatment consists of 30-40 shots around the neck and head which are reapplied every 12 weeks. If you have consistent localized pain, more shots may be needed at that location.
The majority of patients report less pain, less visual disruption, and a better quality of life including fewer sick days off work.
If you experience chronic migraines, you know the misery this causes. Migraines are hard to beat and even the toughest people often resort to dimming the lights and crawling into bed until the pain passes.
Botox can help. It provides safe and effective relief from migraines. You’ll be free to live your life without pain and without worrying when the next headache will strike. If you’re currently experiencing 15 or more migraines per month, it’s time to consider Botox.