Botox Treatment for Migraines
For many people who suffer from recurring migraines, the condition can be severe and highly debilitating; from excruciating pain to weakness, diarrhea and nausea and an inability to function in a normal capacity, migraines can last from several hours to even several days, incapacitating a patient completely and interfering in normal, day-to-day functioning and activities.
Migraines are caused by the enlargement of blood vessels in the head, along with a release of chemicals from the nerve fibres that are attached to these vessels; with the enlargement of the temporal artery, located in the temple region, this release of chemicals causes severe pain and inflammation as well as a reaction in the sympathetic nervous system which then results in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 3 million migraine sufferers in Australia, or 10% of the population; the normal age range stretches from around 12 years old to approximately 40 in both genders and around 23% of households are said to have at least one family member who suffers from migraines.
Effects of Migraine
Not only are migraines debilitating as far as a patient’s personal life and daily activities, research has shown that migraines can have a variety of serious long-term effects on the brain, from the alteration of the structure of the brain to an increased risk of brain lesions.
Botox and Migraines
During the mid-1990s, many people who were receiving Botox injections for a variety of issues reported an improvement in headaches, which subsequently led to clinical trials being conducted in order to ascertain the effects of Botox on various kinds of headaches.
During these trials, it was discovered that while Botox was of very little use to most types of headache, those patients who suffered from chronic migraines showed improvement with the Botox injections and therefore further trials into Botox and migraine were initiated.
How Botox Helps
At this point it is not fully understood how Botox works to relieve migraines; while the Botulinum toxin that Botox is derived from is known to reduce pain over a number of conditions from cervical dystonia, bladder pain and a variety of spastic conditions, it’s not known exactly what characteristics of the drug work against migraine pain, although it is speculated that the drug’s inhibition of the release of certain neurotransmitters may have an impact on the pain processing centers that cause migraines.
Is Botox Right for You?
In order to qualify for Botox treatment as a solution to migraine, patients must suffer from headaches on at least 15 days of each month and at least half of those headaches must last four hours or more and exhibit the established features of migraine, which your doctor will discuss with you.
What to Expect with Treatment
If your doctor decides that Botox therapy is right for your chronic migraines, he or she will inject Botox into 7 different locations throughout your head and neck region; the procedure is fast, simple and non-invasive and there is no down time required.
If your doctor decides that you are a good candidate for ongoing therapy, injections will generally be given every three months on an ongoing basis.
Risks and Side Effects
While there are some risks and side effects associated with the use of Botox they are very rare and quite often not serious; your doctor will advise you as to what the potential side effects could be and what you should watch out for, as well as taking all the necessary precautions to make sure that the chance of side effects is minimal.
Botox therapy has proven to be an extremely effective treatment in the prevention of migraines, so if you’re a migraine sufferer, talk to your doctor today about whether Botox injections are right for you.