How Botox Treats Migraines

Chronic migraines can be excruciating and disabling, significantly lowering your standard of living. If you are one of the over 36 million people in America who experience chronic migraines and are looking for a solution, you may want to try Botox®. Foothills Neurology in Arizona is a neurology center that offers Botox as a preventive treatment for migraines.

What is Botox?

Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) is a neurotoxic protein that blocks the chemical signals from nerves that cause muscles to contract. It is well-known for its anti-wrinkle effects but has many other uses. For example, it is also an FDA-approved medication to help prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine and other conditions.

Botox’s History

Botulinum toxin’s scientific history began in 1820 with Justinus Kerner, who published an analysis of botulism. In 1897, University of Ghent Professor van Ermengem isolated and named the causative organism Bacillus botulinum, which was later changed to Clostridium botulinum.

Next, Alan Scott pioneered the use of botulinum toxin in 1977 for the treatment of strabismus. Finally, in 1989, the FDA approved botulinum toxin A (Oculinum) for treating strabismus and other medical conditions. Thus, it was 150 years between Kerner’s observations and the clinical use of botulinum toxin A, which we all know now as Botox.

Botox for Chronic Migraines

Patients with migraines who used Botox to treat their wrinkles reported relief from their headaches. This prompted medical professionals to investigate it as a possible remedy for migraine headaches.

OnabotulinumtoxinA became a standard treatment for chronic migraine after it was approved in the United States and Canada for migraine prevention in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

After more than a decade of use, botulinum toxin type A has proven to be a safe and practical choice for the prevention of chronic migraine. There was no doubt it was as effective, if not more so, than any other migraine preventive medication on the market at the time, and it was well tolerated by patients.

What are Chronic Migraines?

Migraines are considered chronic when the headaches occur for over six months, at least 15 days a month. Usually, a migraine headache lasts for over four hours.

Painful, pulsating headaches are just one of the many symptoms of migraine, which can also cause nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to smells, lights and sounds. These usually affect just one side of your head and last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Botox for Chronic Migraines: Treatment Procedure

It may take ten to fourteen days after receiving Botox injections before you feel better. It is possible that the first round of injections will not alleviate your symptoms. Additional treatments may be necessary.

The effectiveness of Botox is typically evaluated after two treatment cycles. The number of headaches you experience should decrease by 30-50% after receiving Botox. You can also take any enhancements to your quality of life into account. Even if Botox does not significantly reduce the number of headache-free days for some people, it may still improve their quality of life.

Talk to the migraine specialists at Foothills Neurology about Botox if you have tried other preventive treatments for chronic migraines without success or if migraine medication is not working for you. The procedure takes little time and poses very few risks; it could be your ticket to a life free of symptoms. Contact us to schedule a consultation.



Foothills Neurology