- Botox is a toxin made by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria that is injected to smoothen wrinkles and aids in tics and spasms of people with cerebral palsy.
- But studies have also shown that Botox injections can help prevent migraine headaches.
- Botox is believed by doctors to act as a roadblock by impeding pain signals from the brain from reaching the nerve endings of the head and neck.
If you experience migraine headaches often or have been diagnosed with chronic migraine, Botox may be the answer to prevent them. In fact, in 2010, Botox, or OnabotulinumtoxinA was approved for adults who get chronic migraines.
If you have both a history of migraine headaches and headaches that occur on most days of the month (15 or more), eight of which are migraines, then the treatment will work for you. But if you only get headaches 14 or fewer days in a month and have other types of headaches such as cluster, this treatment is not for you.
What Is Botox?
Botox is a neurotoxin made by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria which when eaten in spoiled food can cause botulism. This is a deadly reaction that paralyzes your muscles due to blocked signals from nerves.
However, it is safe because the toxin is not digested in your stomach.
Botox injections can smooth wrinkles because it relaxes facial muscles. It also helps people with cerebral palsy. Doctors learned from their patients that their headaches were reduced when injected with Botox to treat their wrinkles. Thus, doctors began to study if it is possible to treat migraines with it
How Botox Works for Migraine
Multiple studies have shown that shots of Botox reduce the number of days adults had their chronic migraine headaches or even other types of headaches. They also reported that patients experienced more ‘pain-free’ days per month.
The fact that Botox stops the pain signal carriers of the brain called neurotransmitters from reaching the nerve endings around your head and neck is why doctors think Botox works for migraine headaches.
Once every 12 weeks, you’ll get several shots of Botox around your head and neck to dull or prevent migraine headaches.
In all, you may need 30 to 40 shots, equally on each side of your head. You may need additional shots if you have migraine pain in one particular spot. Results can be seen 2 to 3 weeks after the first treatment.
Warning: Your doctor should be trained to give these shots for chronic migraines only, rather than for wrinkles or other cosmetic uses.
People who use Botox for migraine treatment usually experience neck pain and headache. Allergic reactions also occur although rare. Symptoms include hives, shortness of breath or swelling in your lower legs. Warnings in the medication labels also indicate possible and deadly spread of Botox to other parts of the body.