Migraines can be debilitating and cause immense pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms. One such treatment is Botox injections. Botox is a type of botulinum toxin that is injected into specific areas of the head and neck to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
Botox works by blocking the release of chemicals that are involved in pain transmission. This prevents the activation of pain networks in the brain. It is only available on the NHS for people with chronic migraine who have tried at least three other preventive treatments. It is currently only available through a specialist, such as a headache specialist or a consulting neurologist. The recommended dose of Botox for migraine prevention is 155 total units divided into 31 injections.
These injections will be given in seven specific muscle areas of the head and neck. Each muscle area has several sites where 0.1 milliliters (ml) of Botox will be injected. In terms of units, 0.1 ml is approximately 5 units. The injections can take about 15 minutes and most injections feel like a small pinch. A short needle is used and all injections are superficial, not deep injections.
Expect the injections around the forehead and eyebrows to be a little more uncomfortable than the rest. Botox injections are usually given every 12 weeks to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine headaches. Using Botox to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine may cause mild or severe side effects. If Botox doesn't work for you or stops working, the specialist will discuss other treatment options with you. The exact relationship between these events and botulinum toxin injection has not been established. Botox has not been shown to work for the treatment of migraines that occur 14 days or less a month or for other forms of headache.
Placebo showed a reduction of 6.4-6.9 days of headache per month compared to treatment with Botox, which showed 7.8-9.2 fewer days of headache per month. Botox injections to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine are generally safe, but may cause some mild side effects. In some cases, people who receive Botox injections to prevent headaches experience improvements in their condition within 2 to 4 weeks. If you are considering using Botox for migraine prevention, it is important to talk to your doctor about your options and any potential risks or side effects associated with this treatment. Laura Banks, a neurologist at the Natividad Medical Center, suggests asking potential doctors where they learned to administer Botox and how many times they have given it.