Migraines are painful and can be debilitating to those who suffer from them. If you suffer from migraines, you already know how much they can affect the quality of your life. Those who experience migraine symptoms on 15 or more days a month have chronic migraines. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox for the treatment of chronic migraines.
In a study of adults who get chronic migraine headaches, it was found that shots of Botox cut down the total number of days they had them and provided more pain-free days each month. Doctors believe that Botox works for migraines because it blocks chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry pain signals from your brain and stops the chemicals before they get to nerve endings around your head and neck.
Botox is an injectable drug made from a toxic bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When eaten, the toxin made by this bacterium causes a life-threatening form of food poisoning called botulism. When it’s injected into the body, though, it causes different symptoms that block certain chemical signals from your nerves, causing temporary paralysis of your muscles.
Benefits of Botox Used to Treat Migraines
If your doctor determines that Botox is appropriate for your migraines, the treatments are typically administered once every three months. The length of time for your treatment will depend on your response to Botox and typically lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. During the treatment, your doctor will inject multiple doses of Botox along the bridge of your nose, temples, forehead, the back of your head, your neck, and upper back. Botox can reduce the symptoms of your migraines including:
- Reduced nausea
- Reduced pain
- Reduced vomiting
- Reduced sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells
For some patients, it can take as long as 10 to 14 days to experience relief and some don’t get any relief until future injections.
Side Effects of Botox for Migraines
Complications and effects of Botox treatments are rare and the injections themselves are almost painless. The most common side effects of Botox injections that usually resolve themselves in a few days include:
- Neck pain and stiffness at the injection site
- Temporary muscle weakness in your neck and upper shoulders
In rare cases, Botox toxin can spread to areas beyond the injection site, which can cause muscle weakness, vision changes, difficulty swallowing, and drooping eyelids. To reduce your risk of serious side effects, always make sure that Botox is prescribed and administered by a trained medical professional.
Learn More About Botox Treatment for Migraines from Baptist Health
If you’d like to learn about Botox treatments for your migraines, contact the Baptist Health Neuroscience and Stroke team today. If this is a medical emergency, please dial 911.