For many years Botox has been used to smooth wrinkles because it relaxes muscles in the face, but recent studies have shown that adults who had injections of Botox for headaches had more pain-free days and less time off work. If you’ve been diagnosed with a migraine or tension headaches this could be a treatment that really helps. Botox for migraines – does it work? Read on…
Doctors believe that Botox injections for migraines block chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry pain signals from your brain – preventing them getting to nerve endings around the neck and head. Unlike many other conditions for which it’s used, it’s not thought to work by relaxing overactive muscles –it has been shown to also reduce pain in a number of other medical conditions such as lower back and bladder issues.
Botox prevents migraine headaches before they start as it enters the nerve endings around the injection site and blocks the release of chemicals involved in pain transmission – stopping activation of pain networks in the brain. It takes time to work – after two treatments patients reported that the number of headache days was reduced by half. An increasing benefit is shown with the additional number of treatment cycles.
Only patients with a chronic migraine are suitable for treatment with Botox. A chronic migraine is defined as headaches occurring on 15 days or more each month where at least half display migrainous features. The use of Botox is at the moment restricted to a few specialist headache centres, from trained injectors with expertise in the diagnosis and management of a chronic migraine alongside the delivery of the treatment.
Headache specialists and neurologists will help with Botox for a migraine where doctors have years of experience. You’ll be treated if you’re over 18 and have been prescribed the treatment by a medical professional. You’ll need to check with your health insurance company as not all will pay for it unless you’ve tried and failed to respond to two other preventative treatments – anti-seizure and blood pressure medications fall into this category.
You’ll need to give a full medical history prior to your treatment which includes prescription and over the counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements – using Botox with certain medicines can cause serious side effects. You must also declare any blood thinners, muscle relaxants, antibiotics, or cold medicines you may be taking.
You’ll get Botox migraine treatment once every twelve weeks to dull or prevent headaches – you may need between 30 and 40 injections in all, an equal number is given to each side of your head. If your migraine pain is in a particular area that’ll be targeted by giving more injections there.
Your first appointment will take about 20 minutes. The doctor will inject small amounts of Botox into shallow muscles in the key areas around the neck and head. It can take up to six months to see maximum results without any risk of other drug interaction.
Neck pain is most common from using Botox for headaches – you can use an ice pack to reduce any discomfort. In rare cases, you can have an allergic reaction which develops with breathlessness or swelling in your lower legs. If you have any problems with swallowing, speaking, or breathing you should seek medical help immediately.
Not ready to book a face to face consultation? Why not tell us about your concerns and we will call you back to discuss treatment options.
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