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Differentiating Therapeutic Botox for Migraines vs Cosmetic Botox

Everyone has probably heard of Botox or Botox cosmetic at least once in their lifetime. This injectable drug is loved by many celebrities for its amazing benefits for face and skin rejuvenation. But Botox is a highly remarkable substance and there are doctors today who are using Botox for therapeutic purposes.

So how exactly does Botox work for therapy and cosmetic applications? Botox is a neurotoxin that temporarily relaxes or paralyzes the muscles. For cosmetic purposes, a Botox injection stops muscle contraction to improve appearance of facial problems like forehead lines, frown lines, and Crow’s feet. Meanwhile, Botox therapy provides relief from chronic migraine, excessive sweating, muscle spasm, cervical dystonia, and strabismus. 

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.

Botox: What Is It and Where Is It Commonly Used? 

Botox, short for botulinum toxin, is a purified neurotoxin substance derived from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. When encountered in the real world, exposure to excess amounts of botulinum toxin can cause botulism poisoning which is a disorder that infects the nervous system.

For many years, researchers have closely studied this neurotoxin and they have identified seven forms of the botulinum toxin. Out of those seven strains, there are four types that are widely used and marketed today:

  • Botox or OnabotulinumtoxinA
  • Dysport or AbobotulinumtoxinA
  • Xeomin or IncobotulinumtoxinA
  • Jeuveau or PrabotulinumtoxinA  

The key difference between these injectable neurotoxins is their formulation. Botox has the largest molecular weight and it is less diluted compared to Dysport injections. Xeomin, on the other hand, has no protein ingredients whereas Botox is prepared with a mix of complex proteins which helps the toxin to take effect. Jeuveau is a newer form of Botox and has almost the same properties but it is said to be more cost-effective and has faster onset of effects.

Cosmetic Botox

All four variations of botulinum toxin can be used for a Botox cosmetic injection. In a nutshell, a cosmetic treatment is performed to enhance a person’s appearance and get rid of the obvious signs of aging.

Wrinkles and fine lines naturally occur as the skin loses collagen, which is the structural foundation that helps keep the face youthful and gives it its radiant and plump texture. As people age, the skin cuts down on collagen production which makes them more prone to facial wrinkles.

Likewise, repeated facial expressions over the years such as laughing and smiling can wear down the facial muscle and cause wrinkles and lines to appear. Other external factors such as sun exposure, smoking, stress, and environment pollution can damage the skin and lead to premature aging.

As an anti-wrinkle treatment, cosmetic Botox injections are an alternative to dermal fillers and they work by interrupting the nerves that release the chemicals responsible for muscle contraction. This in turn relaxes the facial muscles and improves the appearance of wrinkles and temporarily prevents new ones from forming.

It was approved in 2002 for treatment of mild to severe glabellar lines, also known as the vertical “11” lines that form between the eyebrows. Then in 2004, Botox became accepted for Crow’s feet which are the wrinkles that extend at the outside corners of the eyes. In 2017, it received another nod from the FDA for correcting forehead lines.  

Since then, millions of people have had Botox treatment and have enjoyed its benefits for wrinkle problems. Off-label uses such as Botox lip flip, vertical lip lines enhancement, and brow lift have also been introduced and performed by many trusted aesthetic clinics.  

Therapeutic Botox

Before it was approved for aesthetic purposes, Botox was primarily created for treatment of eye muscle disorders namely strabismus (crossed eyes) and blepharospasm (uncontrollable eyelid twitching. It is also shown to help people diagnosed with cervical dystonia, which is a condition characterized by neck pain and abnormal positioning of the head.

Botox treatment can also be prescribed for patients who suffer from excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis, muscle spasticity, hemifacial spasm, bladder problems like overactive issues, urinary incontinence or detrusor overactivity (detrusor is a muscle is found in the bladder), and chronic migraine. It can also provide pain relief from TMJ disorder which is a condition that affects the jaw joints and muscles.

Like with Botox cosmetic, Botox therapy works by targeting certain muscles that are responsible for pain and discomfort. It can be effective for long-term therapy as long as the botulinum toxin injections are received under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

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

What An Average Botox Treatment Looks Like 

young woman receiving a botox injection in her face

If you decide to get Botox, it’s crucial to find a practitioner who has been trained specifically for administering botulinum toxin treatment. The procedure needs someone who understands the toxin and has the skill to properly place them on the target treatment area so there will be no serious complications.

The procedure doesn’t require many preparations before the treatment but patients are generally advised to avoid smoking and stop taking certain medication drugs like blood thinners and muscle relaxants that may compromise the effects of Botox.

On the day of the treatment, your doctor may give a local anesthetic or numbing cream to lessen the pain or the pinch you may feel from the injections. Depending on how many injections you will receive, the whole procedure can take no more than an hour. Afterward, patients can resume their normal activities but they should be careful from touching the treated area for at least 24 hours.

The neurotoxin may need at least 2 to 3 days to settle in, so patients can expect to see initial improvements within a week. The full effects of Botox are usually visible within two weeks and they can last up to 6 months or until the body fully metabolizes the substance.  

Safety of Botox for Cosmetic and Medical Uses 

Botox is considered safe and effective for its approved uses and off-label applications as long as they are done by an experienced provider. But while it is a nonsurgical procedure, it still comes with minor side effects that lasts for a few days and these can include:

  • Pain, swelling, bruising, and redness at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, cough, runny nose
  • Neck pain or soreness (common for chronic migraine patients)
  • Urinary tract infection (common for overactive bladder patients)
  • Droopy eyelids (common for strabismus and blepharospasm patients)

Unwanted adverse reactions are rare and they may happen only if the toxin has spread to other areas in the body. You should immediately seek medical help if you experience allergic reaction, muscle weakness, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing or speaking, vision impairment, and loss of bladder control.

Using Botox for Chronic Migraine Treatment 

Botox was first discovered to be useful for reducing migraine symptoms when women who received injections for their facial wrinkles reported relief from their migraine pain. A 2010 clinical trial was then conducted where migraine sufferers were randomly given Botox and placebo. Those who received Botox injections noticed drastic improvement in decreased pain and headache day frequency.

And today, Botox is widely accepted as a treatment for chronic migraine headache disorder. Chronic migraine is a severe type of chronic headache characterized by throbbing pain with accompanying symptoms of nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light. It’s also frequent in nature and occurs for more than 15 days per month for most patients.

Botox is recognized as a migraine prevention measure and it helps stop pain before it even starts. It works by interfering with the pathway where the chemicals and pain signals travel between the nerves and the brain. When the pain signal activity is disrupted, the muscles are relaxed and you stop feeling intense pain and there’s fewer chances of a chronic migraine attack.

The injections are given at least every 3 months in one year to provide long-term chronic migraine relief. It also offers benefits like eliminating the need for acute medications, lesser migraine day frequency, and safety for sustained treatment without serious complications.   

However, Botox is yet not approved for other headache types like episodic migraine, cluster headache, and tension headaches so you should only get the treatment if you’re sure you have a chronic migraine. Consulting with a headache specialist can help find the optimal migraine management plan for you.  

Read more: The Pros and Cons of Botox for Migraines

aNu Aesthetics: Your Partner for Botox and Wellness Services

Botox is a great product with many applications and benefits for cosmetic enhancement and pain management of specific conditions. To have the best Botox experience, it’s important to find a reputable clinic with board-certified professionals who are skilled in administering safe injections.

aNu Aesthetics is your ideal provider for safe and quality Botox treatments and cosmetic and wellness programs. As a premier medspa and wellness clinic, we are committed to pursuing excellence in patient care and aesthetic services to help clients achieve optimal beauty and well-being. Contact us today to learn more about our offerings and services.

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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