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Botox for Chronic Migraine

There are several different types of Botulinum Toxins (A, B, C, E, F).The Botulinum Toxin used for cosmetic purposes is the Type A Botulinum or BTX-A.

Botulinum Toxin type A is a prescription medicine that is injected to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraines.

Botulinum Toxin is used as a treatment for various conditions involving muscle spasms, and is available in several formulations. One of these (Botox) has been licensed in the UK for the prevention of headaches in adults with chronic migraines.

Dr Ayham Al-Ayoubi: “Botox has been commonly used for many years, as a cosmetic procedure used to treat facial lines and wrinkles. It was originally designed to treat muscle spasms but it was also found that it helps migraine sufferers”.

Plastic surgeons first found that Botox could help tame migraines when patients treated cosmetically with Botox noticed that their migraines had improved. It is aso, a possible treatment for some cases of depression. Some studies have indicated that Botox used for aesthetic purposes can help people with mental illness. A study published in Dermatologic Surgery found that treating clinically depressed patients with Botox on the frown lines of their faces actually got rid of their depression.


The way Botox works

There are many different types of headaches. A migraine is a type of headache where the person often has an intense throbbing headache and additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or increased sensitivity to bright light, noise or smell.

Botox works by effectively ‘freezing’ the muscle in the treatment area. Therefore, if the muscle cannot be moved the offending lines also disappear. Its beneficial effects for migraines are thought to be because it relaxes the muscles where most tension is present.

Botox injections have been shown to be highly effective in preventing headaches, nausea and dizziness associated with chronic migraines that afflict hundreds of thousands of people every year. Botox works by temporarily paralysing key muscles in the forehead and neck, blocking the nerve connections, as well as, being a muscle relaxant, Botox may also be effective at blocking pain signals.

Clinical trials indicate that on average, a Botox treatment will reduce the frequency of migraines by about 50 per cent. For people who are having migraines virtually every day, this can make an enormous difference to the quality of their lives.

Sufferers of chronic migraine have found that Botox not only reduces the number of migraines they suffer it also makes the ones they have get less severe and easier to manage.

Having Botox for migraine attacks is not the same as having them for wrinkles. The injections sites will be different to achieve a different result. The doctor will inject Botox into the forehead, neck and shoulders of the patient.

These are the main areas where tension builds up which can lead to a migraine. The reduction in muscle tension also produces less strain upon the nervous system which also helps migraine attacks.

Acute migraines are usually treated using painkillers and anti-sickness medications. For people whose migraines do not respond to over-the-counter medications, stronger painkillers may be prescribed by a doctor. If a person suffers from regular debilitating migraines they may need to be prescribed preventative (prophylactic) medications, which they take to stop them getting migraines.

There are various drugs currently prescribed for migraine prophylaxis, including beta-blockers and certain antidepressants or anticonvulsants.

Botox works by temporarily paralysing key muscles in the forehead and neck, blocking the nerve connections. As well as being a muscle relaxant. Botox may also be effective at blocking pain signals. Clinical trials indicate that on average, a Botox treatment will reduce the frequency of migraine by about fifty per cent. For people who are having migraines virtually every day, this can make an enormous difference to the quality of their lives.

To treat chronic migraines, Botox is injected every twelve to sixteen weeks to specific sites around the head, neck and upper back, to try to weaken and dull future headache symptoms.

Having Botox for migraine attacks is not the same as having them for wrinkles. The injections sites will be different to achieve a different result. The doctor will inject Botox into the forehead, neck and shoulders of the patient.

These are the main areas where tension builds up which can lead to a migraine. The reduction in muscle tension also produces less strain upon the nervous system which also helps migraine attacks.

Unlike many of the other conditions in which it is used, it is not thought to work by relaxing overactive muscles. Botulinum Toxin has been shown to reduce pain in a number of disease states, including cervical dystonia, neuropathic pain, lower back pain, spasticity, myofascial pain and bladder pain.

Botulinum Toxin is believed to inhibit the release of peripheral nociceptive neurotransmitters, which may then have a knock-on effect on the central pain processing systems that generates migraine headaches.


Botox Safety

Botox was licensed specifically for the treatment of chronic migraine in July 2010, by The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It has not been shown to be effective for any other headache types, e.g. episodic migraine, tension-type headache, cluster headache) as yet.

Also Botulinum Toxin A -Botox injections are FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved for preventive treatment for chronic migraines,

A review from The American Medical Association demonstrated that Botulinum Toxin A – which is best known by the brand name Botox – can benefit patients who have chronic migraines, but it does not help those who have episodic migraines or chronic tension-type headaches.

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