Botox for Migraines

Quick, painless Botox injections can be used to alleviate pain from chronic migraines

FDA-approved Botox is a proven treatment that blocks pain signals, providing relief to chronic migraine pain sufferers

Botox, long a staple of cosmetic procedures, is also an FDA-approved treatment for chronic migraines.

Botox is a brand of botulinum toxin, a protein originally derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In its original form it was the toxin responsible for botulism, but today Botox is used to treat medical conditions such as muscle spasms, excessive sweating, overactive bladder, and some eye muscle conditions.

Botox was first used to treat chronic migraines in 2000 after some people who used the injections for cosmetic reasons reported fewer and less severe headaches. Chronic migraine, defined as a headache occurring more than 15 days a month for at least three months, is a rare condition, although it can be extremely debilitating.

How does Botox treat migraines?

Despite years of research, it is not fully understood how botulinum toxin works against migraines. Here’s what we do know: Botox treats migraines when the neurotoxin is taken up into nerves, where it may modify the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry signals between brain cells, interrupting pain production along the way by releasing pain-producing chemicals.

Although this process can reduce headache frequency and severity, it apparently does not change the underlying migraine condition.

What is the process for using Botox to treat migraines?

The process for using Botox for migraines can vary according to your treatment plan and in consultation with your physician. A general course of action includes four treatments per year, with each injection taking about 15 minutes. Injections are performed with a tiny needle and you may feel pinches.

In each procedure, Botox is injected into seven specific muscles around the head and neck, including the forehead, bridge of the nose, temples, neck, back of the head, and just above the shoulder blades.

What are the side effects of Botox injections treat migraines?

The side effects of using Botox injections to treat migraines are generally mild but can include:

  • Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing due to weakened muscles
  • Spread of the toxin, which may lead to loss of strength, double vision, blurred vision, and drooping eyelids
  • Allergic reactions and rashes
  • Itching
  • Neck or back pain
  • Fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose
  • Anxiety, dry mouth, and ear ringing

What is the likelihood that Botox will end my migraines?

Studies have shown that long-term treatment using Botox is effective, safe, and well-tolerated among patients.
Success rates of 65% after three treatments — roughly 6 months from the first injection — have been reported.
Botox rarely completely eliminates migraines. Instead, it reduces the number of days per month they occur on. In two recent studies, those who received Botox experienced 9 fewer headache days per month.

Is there anyone who will not see improvements from Botox?

It’s important to note that Botox is only used for chronic migraines. There is currently no clinical proof that it is effective against episodic migraines (migraines that occur on 0 to 14 days per month) or tension-type headaches (diffuse, mild to moderate pain).

Botox treatments for chronic migraines at Allegheny Pain Management

Do you suffer from chronic migraines? Botox injections from Allegheny Pain Management may help. Allegheny Pain Management is a modern pain management center in Altoona, Pa., serving all of central Pennsylvania. For more information, contact Allegheny Pain Management today.

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