What You Need to Know About Migraine and Botox®

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What You Need to Know About Migraine and Botox®

As a pain syndrome, migraine can be difficult to treat. Conventional headache remedies not only come up short against migraine, they can also trigger the next attack for some patients. Even with what medical science knows about migraine, there’s much that’s still a mystery. 

Some of the medications used as preventive treatments against migraine are those that typically treat seemingly unrelated conditions. These include drugs normally used for treating high blood pressure, depression, and seizures. 

A recent addition to the anti-migraine arsenal is the neuromodulator Botox®

Dr. Dmitriy Buyanov and our team at Premier Pain Consultants in San Antonio, Texas, often recommend Botox as a preemptive treatment for our patients with chronic migraine headaches that don’t respond to other therapies. 

Could Botox be the migraine game changer you’ve been waiting for? Here’s what you need to know about migraine and Botox. 

The Botox-migraine connection

Originally developed to treat conditions affecting the muscles around the eyes, Botox found its greatest popularity after the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2002 for cosmetic use on certain facial wrinkles. 

It was likely those patients using Botox for aesthetic purposes who first noticed that the frequency and intensity of their migraine attacks faded along with their wrinkles. 

While the mechanism isn’t fully understood, we think that Botox interrupts neurotransmitters associated with migraine pain, much as it interrupts the neurotransmitters that cause expression muscles to contract.

Chronic migraines

Migraine headaches affect patients in a wide range of ways. In some cases, migraines can be mild and infrequent, with short durations. For others, the headaches can be intense, frequent, and long-lasting. 

When you have migraine symptoms for 15 days or more per month, you may be diagnosed with chronic migraines. 

As migraines increase in frequency, treatment may change from reactive to proactive. It’s common to take medications when you feel the early stages of migraine headaches coming on. That’s an example of reactive treatment. 

When migraines become chronic, reactive treatment tends to be less effective, and you may find that your standby pain relief drugs are less effective when used so often. 

Botox takes weeks and sometimes requires multiple treatments before it takes effect, so it’s a proactive treatment, working on headaches long before they begin. 

Botox injections spaced at 12-week intervals typically maintain the relief for migraine patients who respond well to this therapy. Dr. Buyanov works closely with you to determine the best schedule for your migraine condition. 

What to expect during a Botox treatment

Botox injections are easy to tolerate. The location of your injections depends on the particulars of your migraine condition. Most often, we place the injections in the patient’s forehead, temples, or behind the head near the neck — classic migraine trigger points, where pain seems to originate. 

Because of the fine needle we use for Botox injections, the most you’ll feel is a tiny pinching sensation. Your treatment takes about 10 minutes. 

Find out more about Botox and migraine and if it’s the best option for you. We also offer ketamine infusions to treat a range of pain conditions, including migraine.  Contact us online or by phone to request your consultation with Dr. Buyanov today.