Millions of Americans suffer from migraines, extremely painful headaches that can be debilitating, especially for those who have chronic migraines. Prescription medications are the most popular of the myriad of treatments available which also include acupuncture or hypnotherapy, and even surgery. Now, many are finding relief using Botox injections.
Though the cause of migraines isn't 100% clear, they are thought to be caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the head. The blood vessels tug at the nearby nerve receptors when they dilate causing the splitting pain. Most migraine headaches involve not just the headache but also sensitivity to light and colors, nausea, dizziness and more.
As Dr. Drew Ordon explains today on The Doctors, one reason patients like the Botox treatment is the ability to target the specific muscles that are causing pain. Botox is injected into the muscles, not the nerves, and it hinders the muscle's ability to flex. The patient is able to tell the doctor where it hurts, specifying the areas that they believe are the origin of the migraines. The physician makes the injections and will often massage the injection site to ensure proper dispersion of the medication. Treatment only takes about 20 minutes and it typically takes effect in a few days. Patients report relief for about 4 months and are generally pleased with the results.
Botox is not currently FDA approved to treat headaches. Be sure to ask the physician not only if they're familiar with Botox injections, but if they're familiar with Botox for migraines specifically.