If you’ve ever had a migraine headache you know the pain is so severe that it can make a person nauseous. Now imagine having at least eight migraines a month, each lasting at least four hours. That’s what people suffering from Chronic Migraine have to deal with.
At Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, we help these patients by using BOTOX injections to prevent or decrease their migraines occurrences.
What Is BOTOX?
BOTOX is one of the world’s most famous brand names, due to its reputation for erasing wrinkles on the upper third of the face. The FDA approved BOTOX for wrinkle treatment in 2002 and every year since then it has been the world’s single most popular cosmetic procedure.
But BOTOX originally was approved for the treatment of involuntary eyelid spasms. That’s because when injected into a muscle BOTOX temporarily stops that muscle from contracting. It does this by blocking the nerve messages sent from the muscle to the brain. The brain doesn’t receive the message to contract the muscle, so the muscle stays at rest.
Over the years, the FDA has cleared BOTOX for more and more uses, such as treating hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating) and temporomandibular joint disorder. In 2010, the FDA added treatment of Chronic Migraine to the approved uses of BOTOX.
How Is Chronic Migraine Different From Migraines?
The frequency is key. Chronic Migraine is defined as having 15 or more headaches days each month, with migraines occurring on at least 8 of those days, with headaches last 4 hours or longer. Chronic Migraine is a distinct condition from other types of migraine headaches, like an episodic migraine. Chronic Migraine occurs more frequently, and the pain is more severe.
How Does BOTOX Treat Chronic Migraine?
BOTOX is injected around the pain fibers that are involved in headaches. BOTOX enters the nerve endings in the area where it is injected and it blocks the release of the nerve transmitters that signal pain. This prevents the activation of pain networks in the brain.
BOTOX doesn’t respond after a migraine has started; it prevents migraines from occurring. It doesn’t do this instantly, but usually by the second or third treatment the changes for the patient can be dramatic.
What To Expect During BOTOX Treatment
Your session with Dr. Trujillo will take just 20 minutes or so. For these injections, Dr. Trujillo uses a very tiny needle that feels like a pinprick. He injects the BOTOX into shallow muscles in the skin. There will be 31 total injections into seven key areas of your head and neck.
How Often Will I Need BOTOX Treatments?
Chronic Migraine is a chronic condition that benefits from preventive treatment. Like all preventive treatments, BOTOX needs to be taken on a schedule. You start with two treatments, 12 weeks apart. Dr. Trujillo and you will then decide how BOTOX is working for you. It is important to stay on a precise 12-week schedule moving forward, as missing an appointment here or there can allow your Chronic Migraine to return.
What To Expect After BOTOX Injections
Don’t expect BOTOX to work immediately. For most patients, the first treatment has some effect, but real results come for most patients after the second or third treatment. Research has shown an approximate 50 percent decrease in headache days for patients having BOTOX treatment for Chronic Migraine.
Side Effects Of BOTOX
BOTOX has been proven to be safe and effective for all kinds of uses, from wrinkle erasing to eyelid spasm prevention to Chronic Migraine. It has been injected millions of times around the world and has been heavily researched. The side effects are usually slight redness and possible pain at the injection sites. You can have some neck pain and stiffness, often accompanied by what has become known as “bobble head” or “wobbly neck.” This is a partial weakness in those muscles that were injected. Pain in adjacent muscles is thought to come from them taking over the load from the relaxed muscles. This usually resolves in a few days, if it occurs at all.
Is BOTOX Safe?
BOTOX is much more than a wrinkle reducer for Hollywood celebrities. It has proven to be an important tool for treating many conditions that involve muscle contractions. Chronic Migraine is one of those. The FDA has extensively studied BOTOX before approving it for its various uses. The FDA approved BOTOX for Chronic Migraine in 2010. Dr. Trujillo believes BOTOX to be one of the true breakthroughs in dealing with Chronic Migraine.
What Our Patients Say
Alternative Treatments For Chronic Migraine
Really, the only other treatments for Chronic Migraine are various medications that either fall under the category of “pain relievers” or “prevention.” Many of these have serious side effects.
Schedule A Consultation
If you suffer from Chronic Migraine and are seeking treatment other than medications, contact Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic. Call us today at 855-768-4968 to schedule a consultation. Our practice serves Show Low, AZ and surrounding areas.