When thinking of Botox, it’s easy to think of its cosmetic uses. Often pushed as a Hollywood treatment for stars who just don’t want to grow old, Botox actually has a complex array of medical uses. And one of the most powerful—and emerging—of these uses is its ability to treat migraine headaches.
But to understand its migraine-fighting power, it’s important to know just what Botox is.
What Is Botox?
Made from a potentially-deadly bacteria named Clostridium botulinums, Botox works as a paralytic agent. When consumed, this bacterium often proves deadly, as it paralyzes the body.
Scientists were then able to harness the power of Botox to treat facial wrinkles. By using smaller doses of the bacterium, scientists safely paralyzed facial muscles for younger-looking skin.
But they didn’t stop there. Though Botox had become a household name for its skin-improving abilities, researchers were looking to put the treatment to real medical use.
And in 2010, they changed the game forever.
Botox as a Form of Migraine Treatment
It was in 2010 that Botox officially got approved as a form of migraine treatment. Scientists had effectively used Botox to help ease the severity, frequency, and duration of migraine episodes.
For those suffering from chronic migraines, this new treatment came as a welcome relief.
But how, exactly, does Botox work to reduce migraines? And who is the treatment good for?
Let’s start with the second question, as it’s the easier of the two to answer.
Those who are looking to use Botox treatment for migraines are typically recommended to meet two requirements. First, you’ll need to actually have a history of suffering from migraines. Then, you’ll need to suffer from a specific number of migraine headaches each month—typically eight or more migraine headaches each month. Additionally, those who benefit from Botox migraine treatment generally also suffer from headaches on fifteen or more days throughout the month.
Those who don’t meet these requirements typically don’t find Botox treatment to be effective. What’s more, those who are suffering from cluster headaches also may not receive any treatment benefits.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the second question.
How does Botox treatment actually work?
Many believe that Botox reduces migraines by relaxing muscles around the head. These tight muscles are believed to contribute to the development of migraine headaches.
What’s more, because Botox paralyzes nerves, neurotransmitters across the scalp are blocked. This reduces the likelihood that pain signals are transmitted to the brain.
This powerful combination of muscle relaxing and neurotransmitter paralyzing makes Botox one of the most effective treatments for reducing migraine headaches.
What Makes Botox Special
So what makes Botox so special? Consider this—other migraine treatments work to prevent headaches after they arrive. This, however, can be quite painful and ineffective for those who are suffering from migraines.
Botox, on the other hand, works to prevent migraine headaches before they even start. This proves extremely powerful as a means of improving the quality of life of migraine sufferers.
How Is Botox Administered?
Botox is administered in the form of a shot around affected areas.
Typically speaking, your doctor will make sure to start you off with two different Botox treatments. Keep in mind that the effects of Botox aren’t permanent. This means that you’ll have to set up a treatment schedule to effectively keep your migraines at bay.
To determine if Botox is the right treatment for you, your doctor will likely start you on a schedule with two treatments scheduled for three months apart.
Once taken and proven effective, the right Botox regime can reduce as many as nine migraine headaches a month. This leads to a significant increase in the quality of life for those who are suffering from migraine headaches.
The Bottom Line
If you think that you might benefit from Botox treatment for migraines, be sure to speak with your doctor. By taking a proactive approach to dealing with your migraine headaches, you may be able to effectively manage your condition.