While most people are familiar with Botox through its use in the cosmetics industry, this neurotoxic protein is also very useful as a medicine. If you are suffering from migraines and nothing seems to help, then Botox might be the right answer for your troubles. To find out more about the positive effects of Botox and how Botox treatments can help with migraines, keep on reading below.
What are Migraines?
In order to understand how Botox works for migraines, a definition of migraine should be given. It is a common misconception that migraines are a more intense headache. It is, in fact, an inherited neurological condition with a headache as the most common symptom. Migraines occur periodically and usually affect half of the head. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbance. Aura often happens before seizures. Aura is the prodromal sign or a pre-signal before a real migraine attack. It can last for several minutes and up to an hour.
The most common forms of aura are:
- Scintillating scotoma, or flashes in the field of vision
- Unilateral visual field outbreaks
- Unilateral disorder of the senses, unilateral disorder of motility in the extremities, or speech disorders
According to the presence of aura, migraines are divided into these three categories:
- Migraine without aura, which is known as a simple or plain migraine
- Migraine with non-prolonged aura, which is known as a classical migraine
- Migraine with prolonged aura, which is known as a migraine with complications or a chronic migraine, for which Botox treatment is intended.
How Botox Works?
The exact science behind how Botox works is not clear, but experts have agreed on several theories which are most likely. Botox for migraines helps relax muscles around the head, reducing the blood pressure within the brain. It also blocks chemicals called neurotransmitters, which carry pain signals from the brain to other parts of the body. Botox acts like a roadblock in that pathway, stopping the chemicals before they get to the nerve endings around the head and neck.
In order to start Botox treatment, you first need to make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients in Botox. If you have any other neurological condition, you should first consult with your doctor before initiating Botox. If everything checks out, you can start the Botox treatment. Patients will get several shots of Botox around the head and neck in order to prevent or marginalize migraines. This procedure is very long, and patients may need 30 to 40 shots in total. These injections hold a small amount of Botox and are equally applied on each side of your head. If the pain is stronger in one particular spot, you may receive an increased number of shots there. As long as you’ve been cleared, the use of Botox injections is almost always completely harmless and does not require any surgical procedure.
The effects of Botox on migraines are not instantly noticeable. It may take several weeks or months in order to subdue the pain of migraines. Botox can only be applied in cases of chronic migraines. A chronic migraine is defined as a headache that occurs for at least 15 days a month, of which at least eight days are accompanied by other symptoms of a migraine. During the time it takes for Botox to work, patients can continue taking regular medications, as there is no risk of drug interaction.
It is important to remember that Botox for migraines should only be done by doctors who are specialized and certified in chronic migraines. The Botox clinic expert team at Lucere Dermatology & Laser Clinic in Edmonton offers over 40 years of combined experience in the use of Botox injections. You can find us at 113, 625 Parsons Road SW, Edmonton, AB.
Side effects of Botox treatments are not widespread, and less than 5% of people experience them. The most common one is neck pain. Other side effects include a tired and bruised look with all-over muscle weakness, double or blurred vision, and lowered eyelids. These effects can last from a few days to a few weeks, but are definitely not permanent. If the patient is allergic to some of the ingredients in Botox, it can cause problems with swallowing, speaking or even cause shortness of breath.
It is recommended that Botox treatment for migraines be stopped if the patient does not adequately respond to treatment, or if a chronic migraine gives way to an episodic migraine, which is defined as having fewer than 15 headaches per month.
Migraines can have a huge impact on daily routines and can significantly reduce the quality of both private and professional life. More than 20% of the world’s population suffers from this condition and takes some sort of medication in order to function properly. Botox treatment can help with migraines, but should only be done by certified specialists and in cases of chronic migraines. The treatment is painless and side effects, like neck pain, are common in less than 5% of patients.
If you have troubles with migraines, visit Lucere Dermatology & Laser Clinic, where our specialists can give you more information about how Botox treatment can help you and improve the quality of your life.