We've all heard of botox. It's a super popular solution for wrinkles, fine lines, and treating other medical conditions such as excessive sweating and muscle spasms, too.
But did you know that botox can also help cure migraines? You read that right! If you're one to experience extremely painful headaches or you happen to have chronic migraines that occur for more than 15 days in a month, you may be a perfect candidate for this treatment. Confused as to how it works? Let us walk you through.
But first, what are migraines?
Migraines are far worse than regular headaches. Although headaches can lead to a migraine, the former is generally seen to be more tolerable. Plus, the existence of a headache may be due to some underlying issues such as stress, anxiety, or eye strain, while the cause of migraines, on the other hand, are typically unknown–although there are also migraine triggers similar to headaches, such as stress and anxiety, that may vary from person to person.
Symptoms of migraines also go far beyond head pains. These can include vomiting, temporary loss of vision, sensitivity to light, and slurred speech, in addition to the moderate to severe throbbing or pulsing caused by muscle pressure over the nerves of the scalp, temporal area, or eye socket, that is mainly felt on one side alone. Migraines are a serious chronic condition and they can definitely affect day to day life due to their recurring nature. Fortunately, according to cosmetic surgeon Dr. Charles Lee, all of these symptoms can be alleviated by Botox when it is done at least two to three times per year.
How does botox help with migraines?
Botox, a brand of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), is administered by dermatologists in small doses to relax the muscles being treated, which as a result, temporarily suspends their contractions. This procedure has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 for migraine treatment.
As to how the process specifically works for migraines, researchers believe that botox which is injected in the pain fibers enters the nerve endings and interferes with the pain-associated neurotransmission. Meaning, botox prevents migraines and pain activation before it even starts by blocking the release of pain producing chemicals.
How is the botox administered to cure migraines?
Similar to regular botox session, a licensed professional will inject the toxin into the shallow muscles under the skin throughout various areas of the face, head, and neck where the pain is usually felt. These are called the "trigger points," and there are actually 31 proven injection sites divided across the regions of the head and neck where Botox is often administered.
Each appointment averagely lasts for 20 minutes and you should definitely inform your specialist if you have had a botox injection prior to your appointment, even if it was for cosmetic reasons.
It should also be noted that even though botox is popularly known to be a cosmetic procedure that most dermatologists can administer, it is best to find a headache specialist or a neurologist that has experience in giving botox treatments to migraine sufferers before getting an injection.
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