If you've ever had a migraine, you know how painful they are. Much like an extreme headache, those who have chronic migraines have a hard time functioning when one hits and some cannot find relief in the current prescription medications. Many turn to alternative treatments such as acupuncture or hypnotherapy, and some even undergo surgery hoping to make the blinding headaches stop. One option that's not yet FDA approved but is being used by several physicians is Botox.
Physicians believe that dilated blood vessels in the head are the cause of migraines. As the blood vessels dilate, they pull at the nearby nerve receptors causing incredible pain. Most patients who suffer from migraines not only have the headache, but sensitivity to light and colors, nausea, dizziness as well.
The Doctors cast member Dr. Drew Ordon says that Botox is an increasingly popular treatment because it can be targeted to treat the specific muscles that are overused. When injected into the muscles, the Botox impairs the muscle's ability to flex, and reducing the pain from this muscle cramp. One key benefit to the treatment is that it can be customized to each patient as they work with the doctor to identify the areas that they believe are the origin of the migraines.
Treatment is fast - only about 20 minutes, and lasts for about 4 months. The Botox may be slightly dilated and is then injected into the muscle. The physician will often massage the injection site to ensure proper dispersion of the medication.
As with any procedure, speak to your doctor about its safety and whether or not it is right for you. Also, use of Botox for headaches is currently an off-label use of the drug and has not been approved by the FDA. When seeking a physician regarding Botox treatment for your migraines, make sure to ask not only if they're familiar with Botox injections, but if they're familiar with Botox for migraines specifically.