Frequent migraines can be debilitating since these severe headaches may cause nausea, vertigo, and an increased sensitivity to light or sound. Because there is no cure for migraines, treatment is often based on reducing triggers—like poor sleep habits or dehydration—and managing the condition with therapies or medication.
The downside of migraine pain relievers is that it's meant for short-term usage. If you have frequent migraines, you can develop a tolerance to medications or develop rebound headaches from long-term use. If you are looking for alternative therapies to treat your migraines, you may want to consider Botox.
Why Does Botox Work for Migraines?
Botox is derived from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Botox is most commonly used to smooth wrinkles because it can relax muscles in the face. However, doctors are finding many other uses for Botox, such as using it to treat the pain of migraines. Botox can help migraines because it blocks neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, that carry pain signals from the brain. Botox can halt these pain signals before they reach nerve endings in the neck and head so that you have few to no migraine symptoms.
The Journal of Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders compiled a number of different studies on Botox's effects on migraines. While not all patients responded to treatment, the patients that did respond experienced
- A reduction in depressive symptoms
- Fewer headache/migraine days
- Fewer days with vomiting/nausea
- Less reliance on pain medication
Some patients' migraines may be produced by tight TMJ muscles. However, one study found that Botox could be used to treat muscular temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) by relaxing hyperactive facial muscles.
Who Is a Good Candidate to Get Botox for Migraines?
Botox is typically recommended for patients who have frequent migraines that have lasted for months without responding to other treatment methods.
You'll want to reach out to your primary care doctor to talk about this cosmetic procedure. Botox has few side effects, like temporary bruising at the injection site, but your doctor will want to go over your health history and make sure that you don't experience any allergic reactions, drug interactions, etc.
If you are a good candidate for Botox, your doctor may assess areas around your head that get most tender to place the Botox injections. For example, if clenching your teeth contributes to TMJ, your doctor may inject Botox underneath the jaw line and around the cheeks to reduce this grinding action.
Reach out to a medical professional to learn more about Botox.