When you hear the term Botox, the first thing that comes to mind is anti-wrinkle treatment. But did you know that Botox injections for chronic migraines have brought relief to many people with this condition? Since FDA’s approval in 2010, when it was used to treat headaches that persist for 15 days or more in a month, Botox injections for chronic migraines have been a major breakthrough.
Is everyone qualified to get Botox treatment?
If you are an adult who often experiences migraine attacks, Botox or OnabotulinumtoxinA is a great option. You are qualified if you have:
- Headaches, which include tension headache that lasts for 15 days of the month and eight days of them are migraine headaches
- A history of migraine attacks
It is not recommended for those who are experiencing headaches fewer than 15 days a month and display cluster headache and other types. Moreover, to categorize headache as chronic migraine, it should manifest for over three months. The frequency and intensity are important criteria.
What is chronic migraine Botox?
Botox is a neurotoxin drug that comes from Clostridium botulinum or bacteria that cause botulism. In its most purified protein form, it works to temporarily lessen the muscle contractions for three months and block the chemical signals from the nerves.
But while Botox mitigates the occurrence of headache before it manifests, maximizing its benefits by up to 50% migraine attack reduction, you need at least two treatment sessions. Each treatment means 10-12 weeks of freedom from the excruciating pain of migraine headaches. Some patients also said that after getting five rounds of Botox treatment, the occurrence of migraine symptoms lessen to about 70%.
How does Botox work to cure migraine?
In essence, chronic migraine Botox treatment helps in alleviating the symptoms of migraines like nausea, sensitivity to smell, sound, and lights, as well as vomiting.
Botox is administered in tiny doses around the pain fibres that are associated with headaches. As the agent enters the nerve endings, it stops the release of chemicals known as neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for pain transmissions in the brain network. Botox application prevents them from activating and causing discomfort. It acts like a roadblock that catches the chemicals from getting to the nerve ends in your neck and head.
It takes time to work after the initial treatment or about 10-14 days to experience the much-awaited relief. A lot of patients who want immediate effects would request additional treatments.
Chronic migraine botox treatment is safe and known to prevent its occurrence after a 3-month therapy. Various studies also show that it is well-tolerated for more than 3 years of treatment, reducing the monthly headache days significantly.
What is Botox treatment for migraines like?
The procedure involves using a very tiny needle to inject Botox into the skin’s shallow muscles along with the seven key areas of the neck and head. The whole treatment requires 31 injections. Each injection requires five units that are injected in the following sites:
- the upper bridge above your nose
- back of the head
- upper back
The whole treatment is almost painless, with just a very slight stinging or burning sensation after each injection. Each session lasts between 10-15 minutes only. After your Botox procedure, you can continue your usual routine.
Are there side effects and complications?
Like any other treatment, Botox can cause common side effects like soreness in the neck and other injection sites, stiffness, or slight pain. To reduce discomfort, placing an ice pack over the area reduces the discomfort. Headaches and temporary muscle weakness in the upper shoulders and neck may also occur, but these usually disappear within several days.
In very rare cases that Botox spread to areas beyond the sites of injection, the following may occur:
- drooping eyelids
- changes in vision
- sharply raised eyebrows
- muscle weakness
- difficulty in swallowing
Another rare side effect is the allergic reaction, which manifests through hives, swelling in the lower legs, and shortness of breath. When it happens, call your doctor immediately to resolve the issue.
To prevent any of these complications, you need to make sure that your Botox treatment is administered by a licensed and trusted healthcare professional. The best person to do it is a neurologist or physician that is well-experienced in treating chronic migraine.
How often do you need to get Botox injections for migraine prevention?
Generally, you will enjoy the full benefit of Botox after six months or after two sessions, once every three months. The response to the treatment varies individually, so the doctor will recommend the right treatment plan for your case.
Chronic migraine Botox treatment is becoming a popular alternative for medications and other traditional treatments because of its effectiveness. It can be your ticket to living a happy, healthy, migraine-free life.