A Hollywood beauty industry staple, Botox injections are favoured by celebrities because of their ability to relax muscles, in turn, temporarily preventing the movement of repetitive facial muscles which cause fine lines and wrinkles.
As it is a muscle relaxer, the neurotoxin Botulinum toxin can also be effective in alleviating pain caused by repetitive movements of joints [link to TMJ pain]. Did you know this ‘wonder drug’ can also be an effective way to treat migraines?
Since 2010,Botox injections have been deemed safe by the FDA in treating adults with chronic migraines. Studies have demonstrated that a majority of people who receive Botox report fewer days with headaches and fewer days missing work after multiple treatments.
Doctors believe Botox works for migraines as it blocks the chemicals called neurotransmitters which carry pain signals from your brain. Think of Botox as like a roadblock on your neural pathway which blocks the pain signals before they reach the nerve endings in your head and neck.
Typically, we inject Botox directly into seven specific muscles around the head and neck which attribute to migraines. In order to prevent migraines before they start, Botox is injected into areas including the forehead, bridge of the nose, the temples, the neck, the back of the head, and just above the shoulder blades in your upper back.
On average, we administer 31 injections per visit, however, once you have a referral from your doctor for migraines or chronic headaches, we will do a consultation to determine where you have the most pain, as you may need more shots in certain areas than others.
You can expect the appointment to take 10-15 minutes, as there will be some discomfort but this time is usually well tolerated.
The procedure is minimally invasive and patients may resume most normal activities right away, with the exception of strenuous exercise or heavy lifting. We recommend keeping ice handy if pain or swelling occurs around the head and neck.
The affects of Botox for migraines may be delayed 10 to 14 days, with the maximum benefits taking up to 6 months. We recommend a 3 month interval between sessions, in order to prevent migraines from reoccurring.
Although most of our patients have success with Botox for migraines, if you do not see results after 3 sessions, your body may not respond to the effects of the treatment.
As this is considered an essential medical procedure and not elective cosmetic, insurance benefits may cover a portion of your treatments with a doctor’s note.