TREAT CHRONIC MIGRAINES WITH BOTOX
What is Botox, and how does it help treat migraines?
Botox is a protein also known as Ona botulism toxin A. Botox stops nerves from “talking” to their targets. For example, if a target is a muscle, it will prevent the muscle from receiving the message to contract, and instead the muscle will be relaxed.
In a migraine, a trigger will set off the sensory nerves in the brain and cause an overactive firing of pain signals. This results in nerves to be inflammation and increased nerve sensitivity. A trigger can be anything from lights, stress, hormones, foods, lack of sleep, medication, caffeine, alcohol, changes in weather, dehydration etc. Chronic migraine sufferers can experience throbbing / pulsing pain that is moderate to severe. Symptoms that accompany a chronic migraine can include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and tingling or numbness in the body. Botox treats migraines by relaxing the muscles and calming the nerves, preventing the communication of pain signals to the brain. Botox helps to reduce the number of migraines per month and lower the duration of a migraine, thus increasing a person’s quality of life.
Who should receive Botox migraine treatment?
Botox is an effective treatment for chronic migraines, NOT episodic migraines. In order to qualify for insurance coverage a patient MUST have at least 15 headache days per month. Typically, Botox is the last resort for chronic migraine treatment. True Balance will ask about
1. Previous neurology consults.
2. Whether a CT or MRI has been done in the past
3. Patients must be aware of the medications previously tried for migraine, when they were prescribed, how long they were used for and why they were stopped.
If you qualify for chronic migraine therapy with Botox you may book a free consultation and speak with one of our physicians / nurse practitioners to find out if you are eligible.
Successful outcomes of Botox are usually noted after the second or third treatment and include:
- a reduction of at least 50% of headache days. For example, if you typically get 15 or more headaches per month, your new number of headaches after 3 Botox treatments, may be 8 headaches or less per month. Botox will not prevent your migraines completely, and you may still need to take over the counter or prescriptive medications for breakthrough pain.
- A decrease in pain intensity
- A reduction in duration (length of a headache)
- Fewer days off work
- Increased quality of life.
How and where are the injections given?
Injections are given by a health care provider such as a nurse or nurse practitioner, that has received proper training in the PREEMPT protocol. Treatment time is roughly 10-15 minutes. There are 31 or more injections given in 7 specific muscles in the following areas: forehead, back of head, neck, temples, and shoulders. Treatment can be tailored to the individual, based on following where the majority of the migraine pain is usually felt.
Is the treatment painful?
The injections are done with very fine needles and are injected just under the surface of the skin, making it feel like little pinches. You will notice tiny red bumps immediately after injection, that will typically go away within the hour.
How often is the treatment?
Botox usually lasts in your body for approximately 3 months, however it’s normal for patients to have a “wear off effect” at the 2 ½ month mark in which they notice intensity and frequency of migraines increasing. You want to be consistent with treatment and not go too long in between. Treatment is suggested every 12 weeks.
What are the potential side effects?
This treatment is usually well tolerated by patients; however, some people may experience temporary neck pain, muscle weakness, drooping of eyelid, swelling/bruising at the injection site. Side effects can be further discussed upon consulting with one of our physicians or Nurse practitioners.
What is the downtime after treatment?
There is no downtime! You can return to work after treatment. Just remember to stay in an upright position, and no strenuous exercise for 4 hours after treatment.