Botox Is More than a Wrinkle Relaxer

istock 1134005495 1 When people hear the brand name Botox, they assume it’s the wrinkle erasing phenomenon. But there’s much more to Botox than wrinkles. Beyond cosmetic use, the FDA has approved Botox for an ever-increasing variety of uses, everything from treating involuntary eyelid spasms to stopping excessive sweating to urinary incontinence.

Botox has even been approved for the treatment of chronic migraine headaches, and that’s where Dr. Trujillo puts it to use for our patients from Show Lo and the surrounding areas.

What causes migraines?

The causes of migraines are not fully understood. It is thought there are genetic and environmental factors involved. Changes in the way the brainstem interacts with the trigeminal nerve are thought to be involved. So are imbalances in brain chemicals.

What is chronic migraine? How are they different than other migraines?

The frequency is key. Chronic migraine is defined as having 15 or more headache days each month, with migraines occurring on at least 8 of those days, with headaches lasting 4 hours or longer. Chronic migraine is a distinct condition from other types of migraine headaches, like episodic migraine. Chronic migraines occur more frequently, and the pain is more severe.

What is Botox?

Botox is made of the botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin produced by the bacteria that cause botulism. In the 50s it was discovered that when this neurotoxin is injected into a muscle in a very tiny amount, it temporarily paralyzes the muscle. Botox is well known for its cosmetic treatment of wrinkles. When erasing wrinkles, the injected Botox stops muscles that form wrinkles on the upper third of the face from contracting. Botox blocks the nerve message from getting to the brain, so the muscle is not ordered to contract. Without the contraction, the wrinkle above the muscle doesn’t form.

How does Botox work on chronic migraines?

In 2010, the FDA approved the use of Botox for treatment of chronic migraines. Botox appears to work better in cases of more frequent migraines. The FDA did not approve Botox for use on non-chronic migraines. This is probably because Botox prevents migraines but doesn’t have an effect once an unexpected migraine happens.

For migraines, Dr. Trujillo injects Botox around the pain fibers involved in headaches. The Botox enters the nerve endings in the injection area and blocks the release of chemicals involved in pain transmission. Without these chemicals, pain networks in the brain are not activated.

Botox prevents migraines; it doesn’t address them once they start. It takes time to work. Usually, the second or third treatment session shows the maximum effect. One treatment session lasts from 10-12 weeks.

Do you suffer from chronic migraines? Call Dr. Trujillo at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (855) 768-4968. Botox could be just the thing for you.

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