Botox® has always been about more than treating wrinkles. Physicians were using it to treat strabismus (crossed eyes) in the late 1970s, when they accidentally discovered it reduced the appearance of frown lines in the brow area.
Since then, it’s been used for treating painful muscle spasticity related to cerebral palsy, overactive bladder contractions, and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Botox as a preventive therapy for chronic migraines.
Award-winning pain management physician Dr. John S. Michels, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth, area of Texas, shares insight about Botox treatments for debilitating migraines.
Botox helps prevent migraine pain by blocking acetylcholine, which is a chemical neurotransmitter or messenger that carries pain information from your nerves to your brain. When injected into specific muscle groups in your head and neck, Botox prevents activation of the signals that lead to migraine pain.
The therapy is approved for use as a preventive treatment in adults diagnosed with chronic migraine, defined as having 15 headache days per month for three months with at least eight of the monthly headaches having migraine features.
Botox treatments do not cure migraines but can significantly reduce the number of headaches you experience. The injections can also help decrease the severity and length of a migraine, and the benefits seem to increase with subsequent treatments.
Dr. Michels discusses your treatment course in detail before scheduling Botox injections. Generally, though, injections are recommended at 12-week intervals.
Each session involves several injections into the muscle groups responsible for headache pain, which may include your forehead, the bridge of your nose, your temples, back of your head, and your upper back above your shoulder blades.
The needles we use for Botox injections are very fine, and the medication is delivered into muscular tissue just under the skin. Most people report little to no discomfort other than a quick pinch with the injection.
Also, Dr. Michels’ extensive training and experience as a pain management specialist means your injections are quickly and accurately placed, which decreases the risk of pain or discomfort during treatment.
Many of our patients report a noticeable decrease in the number and severity of migraines within the first few weeks. You can expect improved results after the second series of injections.
Frequently, Dr. Michels suggests scheduling two treatments spaced 12 weeks apart, then he evaluates your response before proceeding with four sessions annually. Some people are able to eventually discontinue Botox injections without return of frequent migraines.
Notably, Dr. Michels also offers other treatments for chronic migraines that he can provide in addition to Botox injection therapy to manage any breakthrough pain. He can also accurately diagnose whether your headache pain is related to migraines, tension-type headaches, or other chronic pain conditions.
For more information about chronic migraine treatment that may include Botox injections, or any of the pain management services we offer, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today. Call the office or request an appointment online.