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How Many Units of Botox Do You Need For Migraines

Aside from reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, Botox can also be used to help treat several medical conditions, like chronic migraine. People who received Botox injections for their wrinkles reported less headache, which is why doctors started studying its pain treatment for migraine. The right dose of Botox will finally ease your headache from this condition.

So what is the right unit of Botox for migraine? The standardized dose of Botox for chronic migraine is 31 5-unit injections per session every 3 months. That means you will receive about 155 Botox units to your temples, forehead, neck, upper back, shoulders, and back of the head. This dose will also vary depending on other medical concerns you have.

Say Goodbye To Your Wrinkles and Fine Lines

With just a few simple injections, our providers can erase your wrinkles and fine lines in no time with Botox. Call us today to book your appointment.

How Many Units of Botox For Migraines

FDA has approved botulinum toxin injection as one of the treatments for migraine in 2010. Patients have reported experiencing drastic relief after receiving injections for migraine. However, you must be careful when receiving Botox-A injection therapy because you will be getting multiple shots. The units of Botox you receive might be a slippery slope between saving you from headache days or running the risk of having botulism.

Doctors and headache specialists will usually give you 31 shots of Botox with each injection containing 5 units. Meaning, you will receive a total of 155 Botox shots in different injection sites that affect your migraine headache. You will receive these shots every 3 months.

The injection sites are usually the temples, forehead, back of your head, upper back, neck, and shoulders. These shots are only suitable for those who suffer from chronic migraine. If you experience migraine symptoms, consult your doctor first about your options.

Your dose for Botox-A injection therapy will still vary depending on your other medical condition. If there are findings of spasticity among patients, the doctors will most likely adjust the Botox shot pattern to address it.

How Botox Helps With Migraines 

Botox now has proven to be an effective treatment for reducing chronic headaches. Chronic migraine is when you experience headaches for 15 days per month or more, and where 8 days of which are migraine headaches. Patients with migraine report severe throbbing pain, neck pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound.

Studies have not yet developed to fully explain the cause of migraine, but the environment and your genetics are the main triggers of a migraine attack. These might affect how your brain stem interacts with your trigeminal nerve, the major pathway that receives pain signals from your body. 

So how does Botox enter the picture? Botox cosmetic injections help reduce wrinkles because it temporarily paralyzes the facial muscles that cause the skin to develop lines, like glabellar lines, horizontal lines, and others. This same concept is applied to helping treat chronic migraine--it prevents the activation of pain networks by deactivating the muscle nerves that send pain to your brain.

Botox-A injection therapy involves botulinum toxin entering your pain fibers and blocking neurotransmitters from sending pain signals. This way, your chronic headaches will lessen because the brain does not receive information about the pain. That is how Botox becomes an effective prophylaxis of headaches.

Botox has a type of bacteria called clostridium botulinum as its active ingredient. This bacteria is responsible for producing botulinum toxin. You may find this type of poison in spoiled food. It becomes dangerous once it reaches the stomach, resulting in botulism--an illness that can cause muscle paralysis, difficulty in breathing, and even death.

Botulinum toxin is good for cosmetics and treating medical illnesses once it becomes purified. Your plastic surgeon only administers these in small doses. Because Botox can paralyze the muscles temporarily, it becomes a fitting substance for symptomatic treatment of spasticity, cervical dystonia, muscle spasm, urinary incontinence, and other nerve disorders. 

Using Botox as a treatment of hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating also shows positive results. Botox can treat palmar hyperhidrosis, axillary hyperhidrosis, facial hyperhidrosis, and more. Consult with your neurologist about using Botox for treatment to avoid drug interactions and other complications.

What to Expect From the Procedure

Botox-A injection therapy has been an FDA-approved treatment for different types of medical conditions, so you can be sure that it's safe if your doctor has recommended it. However, treatment with botulinum toxin may not be that simple. Here are the things you can expect from the procedure:

1) Where They Inject Botox

Botox-A injection therapy may involve multiple shots, unlike with some Botox cosmetic treatments. Every 3 months, you will receive 31 intramuscular injections of 5 units of Botox in different areas of your body. These locations are the following:

  • forehead
  • the upper bridge above your nose
  • temples
  • back of your head
  • neck
  • shoulders
  • upper back

Preparations of botulinum toxin involve reconstituting Botox with saline solution. Your doctor will use a small, sharp needle to administer this mixture. The individual injections are not entirely painful, but you might experience a slight burning sensation. The injection procedure can take about 10-15 minutes for highly-trained practitioners. You can resume your daily activities post injection with a few precautions. 

2) How Soon Will Botox Work

The injection procedure might be quicker than 30 minutes, but its effects may take a while. You may feel the botulinum toxin effects after about 10-14 days from the initial injection. Some patients still don't observe any relief from their headache disorder after two weeks post treatment. After repeated treatment, they may start to feel the effects. 

If a patient still doesn’t see any changes after 2 or 3 headache treatment cycles, that means they’re not responding well to the treatment. Continuing it further may not provide successful results.

3) Potential Side Effects From Botox

You may experience mild side effects after your Botox procedure. These will usually resolve in 1-2 days. Some common side effects are:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injected area
  • Temporary blurred vision
  • Excessive tearing from eye dryness
  • Drooping eyebrows or eyelids

Your doctor will usually tell you about these side effects and give you instructions on easing them. Consult your neurologist before getting Botox for migraine treatments to avoid adverse events. Botox has a potential risk of rare side effects involving breathing difficulties, muscle weakness, and more. 

Boxed warnings include the spread of toxin effects weeks post treatment of Botox for unapproved uses or incorrect doses. Reports also show adverse events where oropharyngeal muscles weaken. Here are other rare side effects of Botox is used incorrectly:

  • Respiratory Tract Infection
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Oropharyngeal Pain
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions, and more

You can easily avoid these adverse events by consulting with your doctor or neurologist.

Learn more: Is Neck Pain after Botox Injection for Migraines Serious?

4) How Long It Lasts

The effect of your Botox treatment will usually last in around 2 and a half months after the initial injection of each cycle. Since your rounds of botulinum toxin injection are done every 3 months, you might need to take additional medications for your headache during the last 2 weeks of the current cycle.

How Often You Should See Your Doctor

Young doctor talking to a black female patient with migraine

If you are receiving regular Botox treatment for chronic migraine, you need to see your doctor every 3 months. The American Headache Society has recommended Botox injection in patients for chronic migraine every 3 months.

Receiving more units of Botox more frequently does not mean that your chronic headache will have more chances of getting better. Your body may even develop resistance to Botox if you receive injections for migraine more frequently as it builds antibodies against botulinum toxin. Resistance to Botox will make your future treatments useless.

Difference of Botox for Migraines and Cosmetics

Botox for chronic migraines and cosmetic purposes is the same. Experts have even discovered that botulinum toxin works for chronic headaches during its cosmetic treatment for reducing forehead lines. 

Those who received Botox cosmetic treatment received relief from experiencing headaches. That is when doctors have started studying it through clinical trials.

The only difference between Botox cosmetic injections and treatment for chronic migraine is the shots and units you can receive. For migraine injection in patients, doctors administer more doses in different areas where there is a neuromuscular transmission of pain signals.

Receiving Botox shots for migraine can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles, which may be an advantage for people who need both. For Botox cosmetic treatments alone, you will not need that much dose.

Read more: Differentiating Therapeutic Botox for Migraines vs Cosmetic Botox

Cost of Botox for Migraines

According to the American Migraine Foundation, the cost of 155 units of Botox for chronic migraine ranges from $300 to $600 per cycle. Some insurance companies cover Botox treatment because it has been FDA-approved for chronic migraine. Call your service provider and check if your insurance plan covers Botox treatments.

Insurance companies usually cover Botox treatment after patients have tried two other treatments but didn’t respond well. These treatments are antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and blood pressure medications.

Other Migraine Treatments

Using a muscle relaxant such as botulinum toxin products has impressive numbers on easing head pain from chronic migraine. You may also consider preventive medications or treatments for your migraine. Here are some of them:

1) Antidepressants

You can also take antidepressants to treat your migraine. One of the causes of migraine is a chemical imbalance, one of which is serotonin. Taking tricyclic antidepressants or amitriptyline as prophylaxis of headaches may also help. Side effects of taking this drug include sleepiness.

2) Beta-Blockers

Serotonin may cause your blood vessels to narrow. When a patient experiences chemical imbalance, their blood vessels contract, resulting in throbbing pain. This pain may be worsened as human blood flows, giving you bat migraine attacks.

Another way to help ease headaches is to take beta-blockers like atenolol, propranolol, or metoprolol as preventative treatments. These drugs that help treat a patient's high blood pressure may also be useful in easing headaches from chronic migraine.

3) NSAIDs

NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also help relieve pain from chronic headaches. These drugs include naproxen sodium (Naprelan) and Anaprox. These drugs are suitable for those who abstain from pain relievers.

4) Anti-Seizure Medications

Anti-seizure medications help ease your chronic migraine as it also deactivates the nerves that send pain to your brain. These drugs include gabapentin, divalproex sodium, and topiramate.

Know More About Your Options at aNu Aesthetics

Botox may surely help address other medical conditions with the right dose. Consulting with trusted and highly-skilled doctors is important whether you take this muscle relaxant for cosmetics or medicinal purposes.

Here at aNu Aesthetics, we prioritize your satisfaction and safety. Our board-certified doctors and highly-trained experts administer the perfect dose of Botox to remove your facial wrinkles and help you achieve a more youthful appearance. Know more about your options for using Botox and schedule a consultation with us today.

Say Goodbye To Your Wrinkles and Fine Lines

With just a few simple injections, our providers can erase your wrinkles and fine lines in no time with Botox. Call us today to book your appointment.

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