Botox is a wrinkle reducer injected into the skin to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles by paralyzing muscle contractions. After the FDA approved Botox for use on facial wrinkles, patients began reporting other beneficial side effects of Botox treatments.
One of these side effects involved its apparent ability to reduce the intensity of migraine headaches. Following a series of clinical trials, the FDA approved Botox for treating chronic migraines in adults in 2010.
Caused by abnormal brain activity triggered by a variety of things — including hormones, anxiety and eating certain foods — migraines involve neurotransmitters, nerve pathways and altered blood flow within the brain.
Other migraine triggers include perfumes, smoke, bright lights, chocolate and foods containing tyramine and monosodium glutamate (MSG). If you suffer from migraines, but aren’t sure what triggers them, your migraine doctor in New York City may ask you to keep a “migraine diary” for several weeks describing everything you eat, do or encounter each day. This can help you doctor determine repeating factors leading up to a migraine attack.
Migraines occur with or without an “aura.” A cluster of specific neurologic symptoms, auras are warning signs that a migraine is pending. An aura consists of one or more of the following:
- Blurry vision
- Pain in and around the eyes
- Seeing colored or blind spots, flashing lights, stars or zigzagging lines
- Experiencing tunnel vision, or the ability to only see objects near the center of your field of vision
Other common signs you may be suffering a migraine headache include feeling nauseous, chilled, fatigued and mentally “fogged.” You may also vomit several times at the onset of a migraine and lose your appetite for the next 24 hours.
Muscles throughout your body contract when a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine signals them to contract. Botox binds strongly to nerve endings, which blocks the release of acetylcholine to prevent muscles from clenching or shrinking.
In addition to smoothing wrinkles by relaxing muscles, Botox seems to stop the transmission of the pain signals that contribute to migraine pain. More specifically, Botox inhibits the release of the neurotransmitters involved in pain signaling that produces a “knock-out effect” on the pain processing systems responsible for generating migraines.
Your migraine doctor in Jersey City will give you multiple injections during a treatment session at several points on your body: Your forehead, temples, neck, bridge of your nose, back of the head and above your shoulder blades. A small needle injects a solution of Botox and saline into each of these points. Completion of injections usually takes less than 15 minutes. Patients report minimal discomfort (you may feel a brief stinging sensation due to the saline) and no downtime.
Most people receiving Botox for migraines experience improvement about two weeks after one treatment session. For people who fail to notice improvement, a repeat treatment usually gives them satisfactory results.
Some people receiving migraine treatment in Staten Island will not feel any side effects. Others may experience commonly reported side effects, such as temporary neck stiffness or weakness, emergence of tiny bumps on the forehead that vanish within several hours of receiving Botox injections or less frequently and a mild to moderate headache.
If you suffer from chronic migraines that do not respond to medications, call a migraine doctor today to learn more about the benefits of Botox for migraine pain relief. You may also schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Jersey City, Staten Island, New York City or Brooklyn.