Making Migraines Manageable with Botox
For certain people with chronic and frequent migraine headaches, a medication more frequently associated with treating wrinkles and frown lines may offer tremendous benefit.
What It Is, How it Works
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is a protein made from bacteria. It works by blocking a chemical that our nerves release to tell our muscles to contract. By blocking this signal, the medicine decreases the amount of constant contraction or “tone” in the muscles.
When used for migraine headaches, I inject a small, controlled – and safe – amount of it into specific muscles of the head and neck.
What the Procedure is Like
The procedure consists of using an extremely small needle to target several sites in the muscles on the front, sides and back of your head as well as some of the muscles in your neck.
The injections are quite shallow, with the needle going only a few millimeters into the skin. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes. It is done right in the office and does not require any special preparation such as stopping your medications or refraining from eating before we begin.
What to Expect from Results
Botulinum toxin is considered a “preventative” treatment for migraine headaches. You may still experience a migraine headache after this procedure, but the vast majority of my patients report a significant decrease in how many headaches they get and how severe the headaches are after this treatment.
If the treatment works for you, we can repeat it in three months.
Who Should Consider it
Botulinum toxin is approved for the treatment of chronic migraine headaches in people that suffer from 15 or more migraine headaches per month. Those who have headaches that last four or more hours each also are good candidates.
Typically, this treatment is reserved for people who have already tried more conservative treatments such as oral medications without improvement. This is not an appropriate treatment for you if you get one migraine headache per month or if you only have them a few times per year.
How to Get Started
The first step would be a contact your physician and ask if this treatment might be helpful for you. You can have that conversation, and then schedule an appointment.