Suffering from Migraines? Maybe BOTOX Can Help
Over 25 million Americans suffer from migraines, and many turn to pain medication or alternative medicine to manage their condition. Drugs such as Topamax and Imitrex are a popular choice for migraine relief, and some sufferers turn to ongoing massage therapy or acupuncture to improve their health overall.
Still, many researchers are confirming the positive effects of BOTOX injections for migraines and intense headaches. Can this cosmetic treatment really help manage pain more effectively? Here’s a closer look at the potential of BOTOX for migraine relief:
What Happens During a Migraine Episode
Migraines can trigger a wide range of symptoms including nausea, fatigue, vomiting, upset stomachs, shoulder and neck pain, and a sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine sufferers usually retreat to a quiet and dark room for hours on end until the pain passes, and extreme episodes can mean a few days of rest is required. While prescription medication offers one solution to treat migraines, lifestyle adjustments are another way to cope.
Migraines and Prescription Drugs – The Drawbacks
Since the migraines trigger such a high level of pain, millions of migraine sufferers take prescription drugs to manage pain effectively. Unfortunately, most come with a number of side effects that can interfere with day-to-day activities. The most common side effects of prescription strength pain medication for migraines include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Weight gain
- Upset stomach
Avoiding medication entirely can result in hours and days of throbbing pain and an inability to function for most migraine sufferers. Alternative therapy and treatments may offer some valuable solutions for pain management. Still, some researchers suggest BOTOX may be the answer for migraine sufferers. Since migraines can be the result of constricted muscles and blood vessels in the head and neck, loosening and relaxing these muscles may help improve blood flow and reduce the chances of a migraine attack. In fact, many migraine sufferers respond well to massage therapy and other natural relaxation techniques such as acupuncture that target these key areas.
How BOTOX May Help Reduce a Migraine
BOTOX may reduce the perception of pain, which means sufferers become less sensitive to headaches and triggers overall. BOTOX relaxes muscles and reduces tightness in various areas, giving the patient a chance to reduce sensitivity in these trigger points. If migraine sufferers receive BOTOX injections in the muscles that become constricted often, they may reduce the frequency of migraine episodes and related symptoms.
BOTOX for Migraines – Still Pending FDA Approval
BOTOX is still undergoing clinical testing for migraine prevention, and is showing positive results. Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved BOTOX for cosmetic procedures in 2002, it is still being studied for its other benefits such as alleviating constricted muscles as well as:
- Reducing back pain
- Treating severe underarm sweating
- Relief from an overactive bladder
- Improving arthritis symptoms
A study presented at the 45th annual meeting of the Headache Society in 2003 revealed that over 60 percent of migraine sufferers reported reduced pain from BOTOX injections.
Dr. David Dodick, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine also reported the benefits of BOTOX for headaches and migraines after his research in June 2005.
While the FDA has not formally approved BOTOX for migraines, it may be a valuable alternative to pain medication and therapy for thousands of sufferers. Learn more about BOTOX injections and cosmetic treatments in our BOTOX Information Guide, or find a doctor in your area who provides minimally invasive surgery.