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Botox

Botox For Migraines: How Does It Work?

October 13, 2022

An estimated one billion people globally suffer from migraines. They’re not just a passing headache; migraines are a neurological disease that can be debilitating. Despite the high number of people affected by this illness, there isn’t a cure.

Many people find relief with a variety of modalities ranging from dietary adjustments to limiting screen time. However, a large percentage of migraine sufferers are still looking for treatment.

Botox is a neuromodulator that is administered by a doctor or nurse to help with migraines. This lesser known benefit of botox is vastly underutilized. It’s actually an FDA-approved treatment for migraines! But how does botox for migraines work? What are the botox injection sites for migraines? Are there side effects? We’re going to cover all of this and more.

What are Migraines?

Migraines are different from headaches. Headaches are common symptoms that many people experience when they are dehydrated or tired, for example.

Migraines, on the other hand, are considered a neurological disease. They’re medically defined as a recurrent throbbing headache, typically affecting one side of the head. A migraine is often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, disturbed vision, severe thirst, digestion issues, and feeling faint.

What are the Types of Migraines?

There are three main types of migraines:

  1. Classic migraine (Migraine with aura) - An ‘aura’ is a warning sign of a migraine coming on. Thus, an aura migraine involves warning symptoms of a migraine that usually involve vision disturbances. You might experience flashing lights, a ringing in the ears, and have an intense sensitivity to light and sounds.

  2. Common migraine (Migraine without aura) - This is the most common type of migraine. You don’t get any warning signs that a migraine attack is coming. Instead, you are just suddenly met with the debilitating symptoms of a migraine.

  3. Menstrual migraine - Another common migraine type is menstrual migraine. As the name suggests, this type of migraine is connected to the female menstrual cycle. 
    These are just three types of migraines.

There are a number of other migraine types, including:

  • Silent migraine - Involving visual disturbances without head pain.
  • Vestibular migraine - Involving vertigo and motion sickness.
  • Abdominal migraine - Causing stomach pain.
  • Hemiplegic migraine - Causing weakness or paralysis.
  • Ophthalmic migraine - Causes temporary vision loss.

How Common are Migraines?

As mentioned, an estimated one billion people globally suffer from migraines. However, this amount is probably significantly higher, because migraines are one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in the world.

Interestingly, migraines predominantly affect women. It’s the world’s leading cause of disability for women. One in four women has experienced a migraine before, which is three times higher than the number of men.

Migraine attacks can be as frequent as daily, or as infrequent as once a year. It’s different person-to-person. That being said, experiencing a migraine in any capacity can be scary, painful, and prevent you from completing your daily tasks.

So what causes migraines?

What Causes Migraines?

There is no single cause for migraines. In fact, what causes migraines is something that still requires a lot more research.

One possible cause of migraines is excess neural activity, causing the release of certain neurotransmitters and chemicals like serotonin. This release, in turn, narrows blood vessels throughout the body. The belief that some scientists have is that this change in hormones and blood flow is what causes a migraine attack for some people. 

Like many conditions, there are a number of factors that come into play. These ‘triggers’ include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Tension in the body - particularly the neck and shoulders
  • Fatigue and poor quality sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Hormonal changes
  • Alcohol or caffeine intake
  • Dietary changes
  • Dehydration
  • Bright lights
  • Loud noises
  • Changes in climate
  • Some types of medicine

As you can see, there are many different triggers for migraines, making it difficult to get to the bottom of what is causing yours. If you are experiencing migraines, it’s helpful to make a ‘migraine diary’. This involves making a note of:

  1. What you ate
  2. What activities you did
  3. What you felt
  4. What you were exposed to in the environment

On days that you get a migraine vs. the days you don’t. This can help to inform your treatment plan moving forward. 

How Can You Treat a Migraine?

So you’re suffering with migraines. What can you do about it? This all depends on your triggers! However, here are a few suggestions based on popular migraine remedies.

Natural Treatment for Migraines at Home

  1. Reduce stress - Reduce your stress by exercising, eating healthily, sleeping well, and avoiding stress-inducing habits like drinking alcohol and caffeine. This can help to combat a number of the top migraine triggers.

  2. Adjust your diet - Certain migraine-triggering foods like chocolate, cheese, ice cream, pickled foods, and beans, should all be avoided. Plus, look for ingredients like nitrates and MSG, also known to contribute to migraines.
  1. Essential oils -  There is some preliminary research to support the use of lavender essential oil for migraines. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine found that using lavender prior to a migraine attack can reduce the frequency and severity of the migraine.

  2. Yoga - Yoga is an excellent way to manage stress and anxiety, but it also helps to alleviate tension in the body. This can help to target migraine triggers before they come on.

  3. Drink more water - Dehydration is a common cause of migraines, and is one of the most easy things to target. Simply aim to drink eight cups of water, or more, per day, every day! This amount needs to be more if you exercise or are in a hot climate.

Medical Treatments for Migraines

  1. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever - OTC pain relief like aspirin and ibuprofen can treat your migraine in real-time when it does occur.

  2. Speak to your doctor about prescription migraine medication - Prescription treatments for migraines include sumatriptan, dihydroergotamine, and lasmiditan. These can only be prescribed by a doctor, in severe cases. If you have exhausted all avenues when it comes to your migraines, it’s advisable that you speak with a medical professional for treatment.

  3. Botox for migraines - Botox injections for migraines are an underutilized treatment for managing migraines. They’re so effective, that the FDA have approved it as a treatment for migraines suitable for adults 18 and up. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this.

Botox for Migraines

Are you wondering “how does botox help migraines? Surely botox is an anti-wrinkle injection?”. You are correct that botox is most commonly used to treat fine lines and wrinkles. However, it’s a neurotoxin with a variety of different uses and benefits. One such use is botox for migraines.

The way botox injections work is by blocking the release of chemicals that carry pain signals from the brain. It essentially stops these chemical signals in their tracks, before they have the opportunity to affect the nerve endings in your head and neck.

To do this, botox has to be injected around the pain fibers that are involved in migraines. 

What are the Botox Injection Sites for Migraines?

Botox for migraines targets the chronically tight muscles that cause tension headaches, including cervicogenic headaches and the like. For this treatment, botox can be administered in the forehead, temples, scalp, neck and at the back of the head. Your medical provider will try to identify and address trigger points that are the source of the pain to determine the appropriate areas to target.

Does Botox for Migraines Work?

In short: yes! Botox for migraines is a highly effective treatment for migraines. To be more specific, a study published in 2017 conducted a clinical review on the trials that used botox to treat migraines. The researchers of the study concluded that botox “is effective in the reduction of headache frequency and severity in patients with chronic migraines”.

A study published in 2010 found that botox injections for chronic migraines was equally as effective as prescription medication for migraines. 

A final study that we’ll look at, this time a 2011 study, found that botox reduced headache frequency and severity, but it also improved the quality of life of patients suffering with chronic migraines.

At Sisu Clinic, we find that our patients reduce their headaches by 30 to 50 percent on average after getting botox injections for migraines. However, it is important to note that an official diagnosis of migraine and imaging is required before we can treat

Botox for Migraines: Side Effects

The treatment for botox for migraines is quick, painless, with zero downtime. The side effects of botox for migraines are temporary, and can include:

  • Redness or soreness at the injection site
  • Bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Neck stiffness

However, the side effects for migraine botox are uncommon.

How Long Does Botox for Migraines Last?

Botox for migraines typically takes 4 weeks to provide some relief, but the majority of patients experience the greatest impact after their second treatment, which generally takes place 12 weeks after the first treatment.

Find Botox for Migraines Near You

Have you found yourself searching for “botox injections for migraines near me”? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Sisu Clinic is an advanced, doctor-led aesthetic facility that works with patients suffering with migraines to deliver effective relief. Our highly trained doctors inject botox into the established trigger points so that our patients can enjoy migraine-free days for up to three months.

We have clinics across Ireland, the UK, and the US, and it’s free to make an initial consultation for botox for migraines.

Don’t hesitate, you don’t have to suffer with migraines. Schedule a free consultation for botox for migraines now.

Key Takeaways

  • Migraines can be debilitating, and are unfortunately very common.
  • While the single cause is largely unknown, there are a number of common triggers.
  • To establish your migraine triggers, make a daily diary.
  • Botox is an FDA-approved treatment for migraines, lasting for three months of migraine relief.

Schedule a free consultation for botox for migraines now.

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