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Can Botox®️ Really Alleviate My Migraines?

If you suffer from migraines, you already know how debilitating they can be and how much they can interfere with your life. You may spend several days a month having to miss work or struggle through the workday when you’re in pain. And you’re not alone: As many as 39 million Americans suffer from frequent migraines. 

You may have already tried migraine medications without getting sufficient relief, so you may be asking yourself whether anything else can help. One answer that shows promise is Botox®, given by injection. In this post, the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center in Encino, California, explain how Botox may alleviate your migraines.

What is Botox?

Botox is a purified form of onabotulinum toxin A. You may already know about Botox as a cosmetic treatment that smooths wrinkles, but it also has medical uses. In fact, its use as a migraine treatment was discovered by accident, after patients who received it to treat wrinkles reported that their headaches improved.

Botulinum toxin is a powerful neurotoxin that can be dangerous in large amounts. If found in food and consumed, it can cause a condition called botulism. But when purified and injected in tiny amounts, it can prevent muscle contractions — those that lead to wrinkles forming and those that contribute to migraine pain.

How Botox works to treat migraines

Botox is an FDA-approved medication for treating migraines in patients over age 18. Doctors believe it works because it blocks chemicals called neurotransmitters from sending pain signals from the brain. You generally get 30 to 40 shots in each treatment session in muscles in your head and neck where you normally feel migraine pain.

Although Botox is effective, it doesn’t work immediately. One treatment generally lasts 10-12 weeks, after which the effects start to wear off. While you may see results within 2-3 weeks after the treatment, it can take up to three treatments to experience the full benefit.

In some studies, patients using Botox saw a reduction of their number of migraine days by half. This treatment may not completely get rid of all of your migraines, but you could have several days each month that are migraine-free compared to your typical number of migraines each month.

Setting realistic expectations

Botox really can alleviate migraines. If you don’t see results at first, you might after a couple more treatments, so it’s important not to give up on Botox based on your reactions after just one treatment. 

It’s also important that you receive your Botox treatments from a professional medical provider. You should not seek migraine treatment from aesthetic providers who use Botox for cosmetic purposes.

Although Botox is generally safe, it should always be administered by someone who can respond appropriately if you have an adverse reaction. Such reactions can include neck pain. Rare but possible side effects include an allergy to Botox, which can result in symptoms like hives and difficulty breathing.

If you have headaches that are not migraines or if you have migraines for fewer than 14 days a month, you’re not considered a good candidate for Botox. Other people who should not receive Botox treatments include pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with neurological disorders that cause muscle weakness, those with a known allergy to Botox, and those who have an infection at the injection site.

If you suffer from migraines for half of each month and you haven’t found relief from other treatments, consider Botox injections. To learn more, call the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center, or request an appointment online.

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