Migraine headaches can be day-stoppers. Capable of producing severe throbbing pain and a range of other symptoms, migraines can, over time, increase in frequency and severity. When you have 15 or more migraine episodes in a month, you’ve got chronic migraines.
There’s now a surprising ally in the battle against chronic migraines in the form of an injectable treatment usually associated with wrinkle reduction around the eyes and on the forehead.
That’s right, Botox® is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat chronic migraines, and it has been since 2010.
The Botox specialists at Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management regularly recommend Botox injections for their patients with a history of migraines and who experience 15 or more headaches per month lasting four hours or more, including migraine and tension headaches.
Could Botox be the answer to your migraine condition? Let’s look at it more closely.
For many patients, migraines are multistage headaches, though not everyone experiences all four phases. These include:
This is the warning phase ahead of the headache. It might include neck stiffness, food cravings, and mood changes as indicators.
This stage can occur before or during the headache phase, usually with a visual component but may also include sensations like numbness and tingling.
This is the pain stage, usually affecting one side of the head. The throbbing, pulsing pain is sometimes accompanied by light and sound sensitivity and other symptoms.
After the headache, you may feel confused, disoriented, and drained, though some patients experience exhilaration.
Your migraine experience may be similar to the symptoms described here, or you may have a unique combination of sensations and severity.
Botox is a neuromodulator, a medication that changes how nerves and receptors work in your body. Used cosmetically, it blocks the chemical reactions that allow muscles to contract; with expression muscles, Botox releases a semi-permanent state of contraction.
The precise way Botox relieves headaches isn’t known, but it’s suspected it interrupts pain transmission between nerves and the brain. Migraines cause your body to release certain neurotransmitters; Botox may block these neurotransmitters from delivering pain messages.
The needle used for Botox injections is small and well-tolerated. Each treatment is matched to your anatomy and the nature of your headaches. There are a variety of sites around your face, head, and neck that your practitioner selects, including some headache trigger points.
Typically, it takes several treatments and several weeks before you notice a reduction in the intensity and frequency of your migraine symptoms. Once Botox takes effect, you may need regular treatments to maintain the relief.
Some patients can discontinue Botox injections without frequent headaches returning.
Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management has offices in West Des Moines and East Des Moines, Iowa. You can set an appointment online or by phone at either location to consult with our professionals about Botox for your chronic migraines. Book your visit today.