Botox: A Solution for Migraines
If you have been diagnosed with migraines and get migraine headaches frequently, you may be thinking about the possible ways to prevent these episodes. As migraine episodes are debilitating, everyone tries their best to avoid them. You would obviously be trying to avoid all the triggers. You would also be caring about your food and environment. There are also certain medications prescribed to prevent migraine attacks. Still, despite all these preventive measures, you may have to suffer through debilitating episodes of migraine. What can you do about it?
Well, healthcare professionals and researchers also have another solution to offer. OnabotulinumtoxinA, or Botox, was approved in 2010 for persons suffering from chronic migraines. Chronic migraine is when you have a history of migraine headaches with headaches (including tension headaches and migraines) on most days (15 or more) of a month.
Botox is a neurotoxin secreted by or prepared from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. The basic function of this toxin is that it blocks signals from your nerves and can paralyze your muscles. However, taking Botox as an injection is safe as it won’t be digested in your stomach and the injection dose is much smaller than what can be in spoiled food.
Researchers found that shots of Botox can help remove wrinkles because it relaxes muscles in the face. People who have tics and spasms because of a nerve disease like cerebral palsy also use it because of its nerve-blocking action.
So, people who were using Botox to treat their wrinkles reported that they also noticed an improvement in their headaches. The frequency of their migraine episodes decreased after they used Botox. That’s when doctors started to study the role of Botox as the treatment of migraine.
Does Botox Work for Migraine Headaches?
In research on individuals suffering from chronic migraine headaches, Botox shots decreased the total number of days they had them or even other types of headaches. They also described an increase in the number of “crystal-clear” — pain-free — days each month, and they had to take fewer days off work due to these headaches.[i]
In another research study, almost half the individuals who took two rounds of Botox shots stated that the number of days they had a headache each month was cut in half. After five rounds of treatment with Botox shots, the frequency of people reporting a decrease in pain days increased to about 70% of the people.[ii]
Doctors and researchers think Botox works for migraine headaches by blocking chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry pain signals from your brain.[iii] Botox acts as a roadblock in that pain pathway. It interrupts the chemicals before they reach the nerve endings around your head and neck.
You’ll get several shots of Botox around your head and neck area once every 12 weeks. These shots would work to dull or prevent migraine headaches.
You may need 30 to 40 shots in total, with an equal number of shots on each side of your head. If migraine pain is more severe on one particular spot, more Botox shots could be given there. You will see positive results within 2 to 3 weeks after the start of your treatment. The side effects of Botox shots, such as neck pain and headaches, are rare and minor.
You should only get this type of Botox treatment from a certified professional. At Rooted Dental Care, we have trained professionals who are certified for offering this treatment. They would start treatment of your migraine with minimal side effects and would conclude it with maximum results.
[i] Barbanti, P., & Ferroni, P. (2017). Onabotulinum toxin A in the treatment of chronic migraine: patient selection and special considerations. Journal of pain research, 10, 2319–2329. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S113614
[ii] Frampton, J. E., & Silberstein, S. (2018). OnabotulinumtoxinA: A Review in the Prevention of Chronic Migraine. Drugs, 78(5), 589–600. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40265-018-0894-6
[iii] Do, T. P., Hvedstrup, J., & Schytz, H. W. (2018). Botulinum toxin: A review of the mode of action in migraine. Acta neurologica Scandinavica, 137(5), 442–451. https://doi.org/10.1111/ane.12906