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How Does BotoxⓇ Treat Migraine?

How Does BotoxⓇ Treat Migraine?

When you think of Botox, its benefits as a cosmetic treatment are probably the first thing that comes to mind. Botox injections contain a neurotoxin that temporarily paralyzes facial muscles whose repetitive movements lead to wrinkles and other signs of aging. We now know, however, that the treatment also provides relief for, of all things, migraine disease.

The compassionate provider team at Houston Neurological Institute has enthusiastically adopted Botox treatments to relieve patients’ migraine pain, which is typically much more severe and long-lasting than a “garden variety” tension-type headache, which can successfully be treated by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. 

The practice is invested in finding innovative and effective treatments for many conditions, but it's particularly exciting when we find new applications for treatments like this one, so more people can be freed from pain. 

The misery of migraine disease

Migraine is actually a neurological disorder whose symptoms can be severe, last for days, and greatly impact your quality of life. If you’re plagued by migraines, you likely struggle with a plethora of difficult symptoms, some of which may surprise you.

Migraine causes attacks that are characterized, in part, by severe, throbbing head pain, and you may struggle with a group of neurological problems both before and during the pain phase.

Because these neurological events impact you so heavily, there are actually stages we can identify that spell “migraine:”

1. Prodrome

This is the period of hours to days when your migraine is “gearing up” to happen. You may feel constipated, find yourself yawning a lot, and have food cravings. You might also notice a stiff neck developing, mood changes, and an urge to drink or urinate more.

2. Aura

During this stage, you may experience seeing flashing dots or jagged lines, skin numbness or tingling, or ringing in your ears. You may also notice vision loss or blind spots, altered ability to smell or taste, and even speech changes. It can last anywhere from about 20 minutes to an hour. Not every person gets an aura.

3.  Pain

When it hits, the pain is usually one-sided, pulsing, and aggravated by movement. You may also have sensory sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. This stage lasts 4-72 hours.

4. Postdrome

After the pain phase runs its course, it’s normal to feel “out of it” and weak for a full day or two.

Migraine is believed to affect 39% of the population, but many who have migraine go undiagnosed, so the true number could be many more.

Some great news for people living with migraine is that treatment with Botox can give you both relief and hope for a more pain-free future.

Can Botox really help my migraine attacks?

You bet, and that’s wonderful news, since migraine is considered the sixth most disabling disease worldwide. Since the condition is recurring, patients can become anxious about how long it will be before the next attack arrives — and they know it will.

If you have chronic migraine and experience over 15 attacks per month that last for four hours or longer, you’re likely to be eligible for Botox as a preventive treatment. 

The discovery that Botox could help relieve migraine symptoms was a happy accident. Patients who were getting Botox as a cosmetic treatment started reporting that their migraine attacks improved. This led to more research confirming that Botox relieves migraine symptoms, and the treatment was approved for chronic migraine prevention by the FDA in 2010.  

One study that looked at Botox’s effects on migraine reflected that patient participants reported they had less frequent migraine days and more “crystal-clear,” or completely pain-free, days per month. They also noted that because they felt better, they weren’t absent from work as often. 

Another study found that 70% of patients who received five rounds of Botox treatment had their monthly headache days cut in half. 

Neurotoxin injections block neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) from transporting pain signals from the brain, preventing them from reaching the nerve endings in your neck and head areas. 

At Houston Neurological Institute, Botox treatment sessions average less than 30 minutes, and your doctor gives you several injections every 12 weeks, which minimize or eliminate the frequency and severity of your attacks. You can expect to notice results in two to three weeks. 

Don’t spend any more time enduring the life-altering effects of severe migraine. Look into Botox treatments by calling our Pasadena or Pearland office to schedule an appointment. You may also easily book online

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