Botox has been used as a prescription medication for the treatment of chronic migraines since 2010, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its use. Botoz has been successful in treating migraines in people who experience 15 or more of them a month. However, using Botox to treat migraines does come with risks.
What is Botox?
Botox is a neurotoxic protein created by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium and related species. It stops the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from being released from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction, resulting in flaccid paralysis. The toxin causes botulism, a disease that can be fatal and causes muscle paralysis, droopy eyelids, slurred speech, along with other symptoms. When delivered through an injection, it is no longer dangerous and its effects are focused.
A person with chronic migraines is someone who has at least 15 migraines a month for a minimum of three, consecutive months. Only 3% of migraine sufferers have chronic migraines.
How Botox Is Used to Treat Chronic Migraines
Botox is associated with cosmetic treatments to treat wrinkles. The same principles that make it so good in rolling back the years on a person’s face, make it effective in treating chronic migraines. Botox targets the nerve endings that are associated with pain, preventing them from releasing the chemicals that trigger the brain’s pain response.
Botox is used when other treatments, from lifestyle changes to medications, for chronic migraines have not worked. Botox is delivered through injections to seven specific areas: the temples, the forehead, back of the head, sides, and the neck. The effect of the Botox treatment wears out over 12 weeks, necessitating treatments every 12 weeks. For some patients, the effect is not immediate, but occurs over several treatments. Botox may be used in conjunction with prescription medications.
The most obvious benefit is that it helps treat a condition that is very difficult to manage. This gives people with a Botox certification course a sense of fulfilment because it shows just how wide-ranging the benefits of Botox can be and how it can transform people’s lives. Surveys in the medical profession show that 65% of patients see a reduction in symptoms of chronic migraines after three courses of Botox injections, with both the severity and frequency of migraines declining. Patients are able to survive with less frequent use of migraine medication. Botox is well-tolerated by the body and treatments are effective for up to three years.
There are, however, risks, as there are with all medical treatments. It’s important to track your response to the treatment so that if there’s anything wrong, your doctor can help you. If you experience difficulty speaking; or swallowing; or breathing, you should immediately seek emergency medical attention.
You may also experience urinary retention; injection in or more of the areas where the Botox was administered; and worsening of what neuromuscular disorders you have.
There are side-effects, or what the medical profession terms, “contra-indications” from the use of Botox. You may experience pain where the injections were administered. In 9% or fewer instances, patients experience this pain or one of more of the following:
- Neck pain
- More frequent or severe migraines or headaches
- Drooping eyelids or alterations to facial expressions
- Facial palsy
- Flu-like symptoms