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You know that gut-wrenching feeling. Your head is pounding, your vision is blurry, and you feel sick to your stomach. Symptoms are different for everyone but lots of people can all relate to this feeling.
It’s a feeling some of us know all too well, but how do you fix it?
You may have already tried many different options to help relieve your migraines to no avail. One surprising fix that you may not expect for migraines is botox.
Botox isn’t only for smoothing our foreheads but has actually been approved to help with chronic migraines. Many patients who received botox for migraines have reported success.
Keep reading to learn if getting botox to treat your chronic migraines is right for you.
Who Can Get Botox for Migraines?
So far, botox for migraines has only been approved for people who experience chronic migraines. This means for people who experience headaches for 15 days out of the month with at least 8 of those being migraines. These headaches also include tension headaches.
Botox may not work for your headaches if you only get 14 or fewer headaches throughout the month. Also, if you experience cluster headaches then botox may not help you. Patients who experience more headaches throughout the month will respond better to the botox.
Doctors can prescribe botox for migraines to anyone over the age of 18. It is considered an “off-label” treatment is prescribed for children or adolescents meaning that some insurances may not cover the costs of this treatment.
What Is Botox?
Botox is made from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum that is injectable. If you were to eat this bacteria, then you would experience a severe form of food poisoning called botulism. But when it is injected it serves a different purpose.
When injected botox will cause your muscles to go into temporary paralysis. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, botox became very popular to reduce wrinkles but now it has been experimented with to treat medical conditions. It can also help neck spasms, eye twitching, and overactive bladder.
The reason why doctors began to study botox treating chronic migraine is that patients who wanted botox to smooth their wrinkles reported that they were experiencing fewer migraines. Finally, in 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a treatment to help prevent chronic migraines.
What Is the Process for Botox?
Botox works because it is injected around pain fibers that typically cause headaches. This will then block the release of chemicals involved in pain transmission. In turn, botox will prevent pain networks from reaching the brain.
Once you’re ready to start doing botox for migraines your doctor will administer treatment once every three months. When your doctor determines how you respond to the botox, then he will figure out a treatment plan specific for you.
A session will last about 10 or 15 minutes. Your doctor will be injecting multiple doses of medicine at specific pressure points in your upper body. These are typically the bridge of your nose, your temples, your forehead, your neck, your upper back as well as the back of your head.
Botox isn’t just for smoothing out the wrinkles in your forehead anymore. There are many other uses for Botox that aren’t just for wrinkles that may surprise you such as helping to curb excessive sweating.
Does It Really Work?
Botox can prevent chronic migraines but it does take some time before it works. It is usually around the second or third treatment that patients really notice the effects of botox for migraines. The more treatments a patient receives then the better the effects.
In the study, adults with chronic migraines reported fewer migraines throughout the month after they received their first botox injection. They also reported more days that were completely pain-free. This also helped many adults who were taking days off from work because of their headaches get back on track and miss fewer days.
During the second round of botox, half of the patients said that the number of days they had a headache was cut in half for the month. After five treatments, about 70% of patients also said that their number of days with a headache in the month was cut in half.
Botox works as a block in the pathway for neurotransmitters so they cannot reach the brain. They help to stop the chemicals before they reach the nerve endings in your neck and head.
What Are the Risks?
When it comes to any form of treatment there are always risks that you need to assess before agreeing to the treatment. When it comes to botox, the complications and side effects are actually very rare. When receiving the injection you may not feel any pain at all besides a very small sting with each injection.
You may experience neck pain, stiffness at the injection site, and a headache after the treatment. There is also the possibility of muscle weakness in your neck and upper shoulders which could make it difficult to hold your head up. These side effects shouldn’t last longer than a few days after the treatment.
Your forehead may also feel a bit heavier once your injections are complete because this is where your forehead is essentially frozen. For some people, this has also changed the way they use their facial expressions. You may not be as animated as you once were and could also look a bit tired.
Should You Get Botox for Your Migraines?
Before getting botox for migraines the number one thing you should do is research. Make sure that the treatment is right for you and that you will be comfortable with it.
Once you research then you can bring this to your doctor and see how they want to proceed. Your doctor will know what is best for you and if botox is right to treat your chronic migraines.
Now that you’ve learned about treating your migraines with botox you can connect with us on any of our social media platforms for more lifestyle advice.