Anyone that’s ever had a migraine knows how exceptionally painful they can be. A migraine is like a headache that’s run amok. It’s a headache that has been supercharged. Migraines are, quite simply, debilitating. They can produce pain, impair your vision, and even make it difficult to function. But migraines have also been notoriously difficult to treat. That’s why the notion that Botox for migraines might be helpful is, honestly, somewhat surprising.
Part of the problem here is that no one is really quite sure what causes migraines in the first place. There are certainly some theories, and we’ll go into those theories in a bit more depth below. But when you don’t know the cause of something, it certainly makes it more difficult to treat.
Using Botox for migraines is certainly a novel—but FDA approved—use of the injectable, usually reserved for eliminating lines and wrinkles. But it also seems to be efficient and effective. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Botox could be helping out in cases of severe migraines.
What Causes a Migraine?
There is certainly some debate—and plenty of research—in the area of what causes migraines in the first place. No one is completely sure what causes migraines. In fact, those causes are still largely shrouded in mystery. However, migraines do have what are known as triggers, or early warning signs.
In other words, we don’t really know what causes migraines on a physiological level (or even how they’re different from more run of the mill headaches). But there are some ways in which they can predicted:
- Many people experience a visual phenomenon before getting a migraine—such as a blind spot
- Others experience another kind of sensory disturbance (sometimes hearing) before the onset of a migraine
- Migraines are sometimes accompanies by other body aches, and sometimes those aches can begin first
- Sometimes migraines are accompanied by nausea, which can also indicate an oncoming migraine
- Migraines can sometimes be caused (or “triggered”) by stress
- Migraines can also develop in some cases due to allergies
People usually develop unique or individual triggers, and many migraine sufferers are trained to identify those triggers. If you suffer from migraines, you can sometimes mitigate some of that pain by taking medication proactively. In some cases, such medication is over the counter and in others a doctor must prescribe that medication.
How Are Migraines Treated?
In most cases, there is not a one-size-fits-all treatment for migraines. In fact, treating migraines is pretty tricky. What works for some people will not work for all people. It’s worth noting here that migraines are not run of the mill headaches. Migraines are not even “bad” headaches.
Migraines are a specific type of severe headache. As such, migraines can include some of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain, often on only one side of the head but sometimes occurring on either side of the head
- Pain that increases with physical activity
- Pain that increases sensitivity to light (many who experience migraines need to recover in darkened rooms)
- Pain that is so severe it limits your ability to do normal activities or work
- Blind spots that occur in your vision
- Losing your vision on one side or another (this does not always correlate to the side of the head the pain is on)
- Patients may also experience difficulty speaking, smelling strange scents, or more unusual symptoms
To say that migraines are unpleasant is an understatement. That helps explain why so many people see their doctors to find relief—and why so many people experience frustration when relief is not forthcoming.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
To some degree, treating migraines after they flare up is quite difficult. What’s been more effective over the years is treating migraines before they happen. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And that’s where Botox for migraines is most effective.
In many recent studies, Botox has been found to be an effective way to prevent the onset of migraine headaches. At its most basic level, this works because Botox has a way of relaxing muscles. But the more complex answer is that Botox is a complicated substance, and this injectable can interact with the body in a myriad of ways.
However, the effectiveness of Botox as a prevention mechanism is borne out in several studies. In fact, the studies were so convincing that the FDA approved Botox as a migraine prevention medication after 2010.
Advantages of Botox Over Other Migraine Treatments
Botox isn’t going to be the best migraine treatment for everyone. In fact, there are several migraine preventatives on the market today, including the following:
- Calcium Chanel Blockers
- Beta Blockers
Botox is a great solution for people who get migraines with some regularity (generally described as more than fifteen times in a month). Botox is an especially good treatment for patients who prefer getting an injection every three months or so instead of taking a daily supplement, medication or pill.
Of course, Botox has the added benefit of getting some cosmetic results, too. It might sound a little trivial or shallow, but there’s no denying that getting rid of some lines and wrinkles (at the same time you’re getting rid of migraines) can help someone feel good again when they look in the mirror.
Many Uses For Botox
As is probably quite apparent, there are many modern uses for Botox these days—it’s not relegated to simply getting rid of wrinkles (although it certainly continues to excel at that). But it turns out that Botox is being used to treat a wide variety of issues.
For example, in addition to treating migraines, Botox has been used to help treat depression. And Botox has been found to be particularly effective at treating TMJ (known colloquially as “lockjaw”).
Researchers are not always confident as to why Botox works when treating certain issues. But they do take a lot of time to ensure that Botox does work when applied to these various conditions. In fact, the FDA is usually quite reluctant to approve new treatments—in most cases, the FDA must find compelling evidence that a new treatment works as well as or better than what is currently on the market.
That Botox has been approved by the FDA to treat migraines has certainly filled both cosmetic surgeons and patients with the necessary confidence to go forward in the continued use of this treatment. Still, it’s not uncommon for patients to have questions about Botox injections, possible side effects and the suitability of the treatment.
If you have questions about getting migraine relief with the use of Botox, you should contact a highly qualified cosmetic or plastic surgeon in order to schedule a consultation. In some cases, Botox may not be the right fit for you. However, one of benefits of Botox is that it’s a very low risk treatment—especially when performed under the supervision of an experienced plastic or cosmetic surgeon.
To find out more about how Botox can help you find migraine relief, contact a cosmetic surgeon and get started today!