Can BOTOX® Really Relieve Migraines?

You know BOTOX® can banish crow’s feet and frown lines. But did you know it can also relieve and even prevent migraines?

It’s true. In 2010, BOTOX received FDA approval for treating and preventing migraines. The road to this approval was serendipitous. Doctors treating patients for cosmetic issues like crow’s feet and forehead lines found their patients had fewer migraines during the weeks following their treatment. Clinical studies soon followed, and a decade later, the FDA granted its approval. Today, BOTOX is used to treat chronic migraine headaches, defined as 15 or more headaches per month, helping men and women avoid long-term use of pain medication.

BOTOX migraine treatment: How it works

BOTOX is a very, very dilute form of a toxin that works on nerve endings; specifically, it works by blocking certain chemical signals between your muscles and your brain. That signal-blocking action is what helps prevent wrinkle formation. By blocking transmission between specific areas of muscle tissue and the brain, your brain never receives the signal to contract, preventing the skin from wrinkling and folding.

In migraines, the premise is the same — BOTOX injections work to modulate nerve signals — but the placement of the injections is different. In migraine headaches, the nerves around the neck and head become over-sensitized, which means they can be stimulated far more often than normal. Overstimulation results in a near-continual firing of pain signals which your brain “translates” as pain and other symptoms of migraine headaches, like vision problems, nausea, and oversensitivity to light and sound.

When used for migraine treatment, BOTOX works by blocking these overstimulated nerve pathways, preventing nerve signals from traveling to the brain and effectively blocking pain. Since several nerve pathways are involved in migraine headache symptoms, the therapy for migraines involves multiple injections placed around the scalp and neck area. The exact number of injections varies, depending on your symptoms and your anatomy.

One of the best aspects of BOTOX therapy for migraines is that it doesn’t just reduce the pain of migraines, it actually can reduce the number of migraine headaches you experience. The effects of BOTOX treatment last about 12 weeks, after which the injections can be repeated. According to the American Migraine Foundation, patients report 50 percent fewer migraines after just two rounds of treatment.

What to expect during your BOTOX treatment

Having multiple injections in a single treatment may not sound like fun, but because BOTOX uses very fine needles (much slimmer than needles used in regular vaccinations, for instance), discomfort during your treatment is minimal. Prior to your treatment, Dr. Badday will carefully map out the placement of the injections for maximum effect. Most treatments take about 20 minutes to complete.

One of the biggest benefits of BOTOX is that it can achieve pain relief (and even pain prevention) without pain medicines. By delivering the solution directly to the nerve receptors responsible for pain signaling, BOTOX is also more effective than oral medication that has to go through the digestive tract, where it can be broken down and diluted. Plus, it won’t irritate your gastrointestinal tract, and it doesn’t have to be processed by the liver, all benefits compared to traditional oral pain medicines.

There’s no downtime following BOTOX treatment, and you’ll be able to go back to your normal routines immediately afterward. Like other migraine treatments, BOTOX therapy can be combined with lifestyle changes, like stress management and dietary changes, to potentially reduce migraine events even further.

Learn how BOTOX can help you reduce painful migraines

At Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine, we offer BOTOX therapy for migraines, so patients can finally find the relief they need for their chronic headaches. To find out more about BOTOX migraine treatment and how it can help you feel better, book an appointment online today.

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