Millions of Americans suffer from migraines, and for most of those sufferers, the pain can be excruciating. Migraine headaches are often associated with other symptoms like nausea, tunnel vision, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. What’s worse, a large number of migraine sufferers experience these debilitating headaches multiple times a month.
Until recently, the only way to prevent migraine pain was to try your hardest to avoid “triggers” that caused headaches to occur. But because a lot of migraines don’t have identifiable triggers or the triggers simply can’t be avoided, migraine treatments tended to focus more on trying to reduce the painful symptoms. And again, for most people, that meant relying on a lot of medication.
BOTOX® for migraines
All that changed in 2010 when the FDA approved BOTOX injections for the treatment of recurring migraines. Now, instead of trying to reduce painful symptoms, doctors (and their patients) have a way to prevent the pain from occurring in the first place.
BOTOX works by binding to nerve pathways, preventing those pathways from sending pain signals to the brain. Since the brain doesn’t receive the information from the nerves, it can’t translate that information into pain sensations. In migraines, BOTOX injections target multiple pathways in your face, neck, and scalp. During a migraine, these pathways become “overactive,” firing off pain signals that cause intense discomfort and other symptoms. By blocking those pathways before they have a chance to transmit pain information, you can actually prevent the symptoms from occurring and reduce symptoms that are already occurring.
During your treatment, you’ll have several injections placed at specific locations. The entire treatment session takes about 20 minutes. Injections remain effective for about three months, after which you can have another treatment to keep pain at bay indefinitely. The FDA has approved BOTOX for people who have chronic migraines, which is defined as 15 or more headaches each month. If you have other types of recurring headaches or if your headaches don't occur that frequently, the team at Space City Pain Specialists might suggest alternative therapies.
Benefits of BOTOX for migraine treatment
Of course, the main advantage of BOTOX compared to pain medicines is that BOTOX actually prevents pain before it happens. But there are other benefits too. First, since it’s injected, it goes directly to the sites where it’s needed. It doesn’t have to pass through the digestive tract where it can be broken down or further diluted. Second, the injections are very precise, which means the effects of BOTOX can be confined to specific areas without affecting neighboring tissues. That means you won’t have to worry about side effects like dependency, liver or kidney damage, or gastrointestinal problems that can be caused by systemic medicines.
In addition to BOTOX injections, you can try limiting caffeine intake, learning stress management techniques, cutting back on alcohol consumption, and getting adequate rest. Food can be a common trigger for migraine symptoms. Keeping a food diary can be helpful sometimes in identifying which foods to avoid.
Learn how BOTOX can help you
If you suffer from migraine headaches, the team at Space City Pain Specialists can help you find a treatment to manage your symptoms or prevent them from happening. To learn more about BOTOX treatments for migraines and other pain management treatments, book an appointment online today.