Botox for Migraines: Fact or Fiction?
It is bad enough to suffer from a migraine every now and then, but if you have chronic migraines, it can seem like torture. Fortunately, finding a solution might not be as hard as it seems. Many people have claimed to experience temporary relief from migraines following Botox treatment, and while more research needs to be conducted to confirm these assertions, it does present a possible alternative to migraine drugs.
In this post, read more about Botox and what the science says about ‘Botox for migraines.’
What is Botox?
Botox is an injectable drug made from the ‘Botulinum toxin,’ a neurotoxic protein that literally induces paralysis in muscles. Often used as a treatment option for reducing facial wrinkles,
Botox has been found to aid in migraines as well, and was approved in 2010 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to exactly that purpose.
When people use Botox for migraines, they will generally receive several shots of Botox around their head and neck once every 12 weeks to dull or prevent their severe headaches. The Botox purportedly helps decrease the severity and frequency of their migraines until the effects wear off. Keep in mind that this is still unconfirmed, and may not work for you. Moreover, because the effects are apparently temporary, proponents of ‘Botox for migraines’ confess that injections need to be scheduled every three months.
The Science Behind Botox and Migraines
While there is still work that needs to be done when it comes to understanding how Botox can treat migraines, many believe that Botox helps prevent future migraines by paralyzing the muscles in the head. This, in turn, prevents those muscles from contracting, which contributes to headaches. Others, however, disagree, observing that the effect generally does not apply to everyday headaches.
More compelling evidence suggests that the botulinum toxin impacts neurotransmitter release in the brain (effectively nullifying the signal pain receptors’ get to induce migraine-specific pain), however more research needs to be done to confirm these theories.
Botox Treatment Schedule for Migraines
If you would like to try Botox to help soothe your migraines, you can ask a specialist to administer shots around your neck and head once every 3 months, or 12 weeks. Based on other’s experiences, you will likely need somewhere around 30 or 40 units total during each session. You will also need to get an equal number of injections on both sides of your head, and if you find that you get migraines in one area of your head more often than others, you may need to have more injections in that area.
Again, because the results are temporary, you do need to keep up with your treatment schedule to ensure lasting results. If you experience favorable results, you can obviously continue with your injection schedule, or attempt to space out your injections to see how you feel.
Potential Side Effects
There are not many side effects associated with using Botox for migraines. Some proponents say they experience short-term headaches and neck pain, but otherwise it is generally safe. More research needs to be done to confirm that there are no short or long-term side effects of Botox for migraines.
Keep in mind that it is possible to develop an allergic reaction to Botox, but this is quite rare. Signs of that reaction include shortness of breath, hives and swelling in the lower legs. Notify your provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Choosing a provider
We hope this post has helped clarify what Botox for migraines entails, its potential benefits and side-effects, and (especially) just how little we know about this form of migraine relief. That being said, if you would like to try Botox to soothe your chronic migraines, it is vital that you work with a specialist. Remember, Botox is still a delicate drug, and working with someone who knows how to administer it correctly can ensure that your injections are uniform, professional and above all, safe.
Interested in Botox for other uses? Elume Medspa is a professional medical spa that provides Botox procedures for clients who wish to eliminate wrinkles and prevent new lines from forming (leaving their skin looking younger). Contact them today to find out more about Botox as a cosmetic treatment!