Are you one of the 23 million Americans who suffer from migraine headaches? If so, you know how debilitating they can be. Lasting anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, migraines can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine headaches typically begin as a dull ache then progress to constant, throbbing pain felt on one side of the head. Because migraine symptoms can worsen with movement or physical activity, you may need to lie down for a few hours – or even days – until the symptoms subside.
Chronic Migraine Treatment
Do you experience headaches 15 days a month or more? Do they last 4 hours or more each time? If at least half of these headaches are migraines, then you suffer from chronic migraines.
Although there is no cure for migraines, they can be treated. Botox – yes, the very same solution used to get rid of wrinkles – can be effective for decreasing the frequency and severity of chronic migraine headaches.
Many people treat migraines with oral prescription or over-the-counter remedies taken at the onset of pain, but these tend to have short-lived effects. Because migraine headaches can negatively impact your family, work and social life, it’s important to be aware of other potentially more effective options.
In 2010, the FDA approved Botox for treating and preventing chronic migraines in adults. In clinical trials, Botox injections reduced the number of days each month people experienced chronic migraines. Botox also decreased the length of time the headaches lasted.
Botox has not been proven effective for treating or preventing other types of headaches. It also does not have an impact on those who experience fewer than 15 migraines a month.
What to Expect from Botox Treatments
Botox is administered to 7 key areas of the head and neck. A total of 31 injections are given every 12 weeks. The injections feel like tiny pin pricks and are not painful; most people feel only slight discomfort.
The treatment only takes about 15 minutes and there is no downtime, so you can come in for a quick office visit and return to work or your daily activities immediately.
Following Botox injections, it typically takes up to 4 weeks for the treatment to begin having an impact, so you need to be patient and give it time. After 2 treatments (24 weeks), you should notice a decrease in the number of headaches you experience each month and in the severity and/or duration of headaches. Results may last for up to three months.
Although side effects are rare, the most common are neck pain and muscle weakness.
Accurate location and dosing of injections are the keys to achieving long-lasting results without side effects. That’s why you need a doctor who is experienced in administering Botox for chronic migraines.