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The Pros and Cons of Botox for Migraines

Chronic migraine symptoms can cause disruption in work productivity and lessen a person’s enjoyment of their daily activities. While short-term relief can be acquired from migraine medication and drugs, Botox is also being recommended as a reliable migraine treatment that provides ease and comfort to lessen migraine days.   

So what exactly are the benefits of getting a Botox treatment for migraine headache? Botox is a safe and nonsurgical option for preventive treatment of migraine pain. The neurotoxin substance in Botox can stop the release of pain signals to provide relief from migraine for up to 3 months. When used together with medications, it can provide long-term relief and reduce frequency of a migraine attack.   

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.

A Guide to Botox for Migraine Headaches

Botox, or botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin injectable that is widely used as an alternative to a dermal filler cosmetic procedure for treating facial wrinkles and frown lines. But while it’s largely popular in the field of aesthetics, in 2010, Botox was recognized by the US FDA as an effective treatment for migraine prevention among chronic migraine sufferers.

A patient with chronic migraine commonly experiences symptoms such as throbbing pain in one or both sides of the head for at least 15 days per month for more than 3 months. They may be a result of an episodic headache that has increased its frequency and developed a periodic pattern.  

Available studies today only suggest the administration of botulinum toxin injections for chronic migraine. Botox may not be as effective for other types of migraine headaches such as cluster headache, tension headache, and episodic migraine (or headaches that occur for less than 15 days). 

Learn more: What You Should Know About Treating Migraines With Botox

What Botox for Migraine Treatment Looks Like

When Botox is injected for cosmetic uses, it works by paralyzing the facial muscles to limit muscle contraction and improve wrinkles and lines. But for migraine problems, it is speculated that Botox inhibits the neurotransmitters from sending pain signals and chemicals to the head and neck which results in fewer migraine days and improvement in the intensity of headache symptoms.

On average, Botox treatment for chronic migraine headaches will need a total of 155 units. There are 31 possible injection sites which are distributed into seven muscle areas: the forehead, above the bridge of the nose, back of the head, the temples, the neck, and at the shoulder blades in the upper back. The whole treatment can be done in about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Pros of Botox for Chronic Migraine

Botox offers many benefits and uses in the field of therapeutic medicine. It is also accepted as treatment for eye muscle disorders like strabismus and lazy eye, excessive sweating, overactive bladder, muscle spasm, and cervical dystonia. Specific to migraine treatment, the advantages of Botox can include:   

  • Safe for long-term treatment - Studies have shown that long-term application of Botox among chronic migraine patients significantly improved symptoms of migraine without any severe side effects.
  • Can be combined with acute medications for migraine - Even if you’ve already had a Botox injection, you can continue to take migraine medications to enjoy greater migraine relief.
  • Can prevent migraine before it happens - As long as the neurotoxin is in effect, the pain signals are unable to reach your brain so you will not feel any headache pain and the symptoms are prevented from worsening. 
  • Reduces headache day recurrence - With decreased symptoms, the number of your migraine days will not be as prevalent and you can enjoy greater quality of life.  

Cons of Botox for Chronic Migraine

There are little reported complications after a Botox treatment. The most common side effects are mild pain and swelling at the injection site. This is mostly due to the injection trauma to the skin but with the help of an ice pack or cold compress, the tenderness and pain may resolve in just a few days.

Other aftereffects that may be experienced include neck pain and soreness, muscle weakness in the neck and shoulders, and temporary headache. Adverse reactions are very rare and they can only happen when the injection was poorly placed or if the toxin has migrated to other parts of the body.

Some of the serious side effects reported in clinical trials are drooping eyelid, muscle weakness, trouble speaking and breathing, loss of bladder control, dry eyes, blurry vision, and signs of allergic reaction like itching and rash. At least 1% of Botox patients have also experienced severe headaches after the treatment. 

Botox vs Other Migraine Relief Treatments 

Portrait of a beautiful winking woman and many syringes with beauty injections around her face

While Botox is a great treatment choice for chronic headache, it’s mostly presented to patients when traditional medication and pain-relief drugs have not been helpful. There are also other alternative options that can alleviate migraine pain such as:

  • CGRP inhibitors - CGRP, or calcitonin gene-related peptide, is a substance that is released by the brain during a migraine episode. Most of the available CGRP treatments like Aimovig and Agovy are given through injections. They work by blocking its receptors or attaching to the molecules to deactivate them.
  • Nerve block - A nerve block or occipital nerve block is done by injecting a pain medication and steroids into the occipital nerve. This treatment is best for occipital neuralgia which is a form of chronic migraine where the pain is felt in the back of the head or upper neck and extends to the scalp.
  • Beta blocker shots - One of the causes of migraine is vasodilation where the blood vessels have become enlarged and beta blocker shots can target these vessels to relax and function normally.
  • Nerve decompression or migraine surgery - This is a surgical procedure that removes pressure on certain trigger points in your sensory nerves that can cause migraine. It’s usually a last resort for prolonged migraine disorders.

The symptom and severity of migraines are not always the same for all patients. It’s recommended to see a headache specialist to discuss a headache management plan that is personalized to your condition. Depending on their assessment, they may also suggest incorporating lifestyle changes such as avoiding stressors and eating healthy to supplement effects of Botox and other migraine treatments.

Where Should You Get Botox for Migraines? 

The treatment must only be given by a licensed healthcare practitioner or a Botox specialist. Your provider must be someone who has a complete understanding of the nature and different symptoms of chronic migraine. Since the procedure requires injections into the delicate muscles, they should also have the skill and precision to properly administer the injections.

The results of Botox treatment can take at least 2 to 4 weeks to take effect. A migraine patient may need at least 2 treatments which are 12 weeks apart. If Botox is effective for your migraine problem, you may opt to get repeat injections for 4 times a year (may change as per doctor’s recommendation) for prevention and longer relief.  

Try aNu Aesthetics’ Medical Spa and Wellness Services Today

Botox is an impressively versatile product and many doctors are using it for migraine therapy. To assure a safe procedure and maximize its benefits, patients should get their injections from a trusted clinic like aNu Aesthetics and Optimal Wellness.

aNu Aesthetics is home to board-certified physicians and cosmetic doctors who are all highly trained and qualified to perform Botox treatments. We are committed to offering the highest level of patient care by ensuring that our beauty and wellness programs are all customized to our client’s needs. Call us now to learn more about our products and services or schedule a consultation

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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