Botox for Chronic Migraine
May 10, 2023

Botox is well-known for providing the Hollywood elite with smooth skin, but it’s also been approved as a treatment option for chronic migraine (CM) for more than a decade. While many patients report positive results from this procedure, it’s important to talk to your doctor to figure out whether it’s right for you.

What is chronic migraine?

The FDA has given a green light to botox injections for those with a chronic form of migraine disorder, in which headaches occur on at least 15 days of each month. Experts do not recommend using this treatment option if you experience fewer headache days per month, as results are not optimal in these cases.

To be considered a migraine headache, these headaches must meet criteria such as severe intensity with throbbing, pounding, or pulsating sensations, worsening with physical activity and movement, nausea or vomiting, or light or sound sensitivity.

What is this treatment?

Botox is a purified form of botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin produced by bacteria that causes botulism. When injected in small doses into specific areas, it can temporarily reduce muscle contractions for periods of time.

How can Botox help CM?

According to experts in the field, administering Botox injections around pain fibers involved in headaches can effectively help reduce incidents of migraine headaches. The toxin blocks chemicals thought to be responsible for sending pain signals from reaching the brain and thus preventing activation of those networks. Each treatment typically lasts 10-12 weeks, so it may require a few treatments before its full effect is achieved.

What should you expect from the injection?

Patients may find relief from the use of Botox injections

At your first session, the procedure should take approximately 20 minutes. Your medical provider will use a tiny needle—so tiny that you may only feel a slight prick. They will then inject small amounts of this botulinum toxin into the muscles in the face or neck area.

The most common side effect after injections of botulinum toxin is tenderness at the injection site, which can be relieved with an ice pack if necessary. It could take up to 6 months for maximum results. There are no known drug interactions between this and other medications at this time.

Are there additional benefits?

In addition to relief from these serious symptoms, there are additional benefits to this treatment. For one, Botox can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. By temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause these wrinkles to form, it can give the skin a smoother and more youthful appearance.

Additionally, Botox can be used to treat excessive sweating, a condition known as hyperhidrosis. This can be particularly helpful for those who experience excessive sweating in their underarms, hands, or feet, as it can help reduce embarrassing sweat stains and odor.

Another potential benefit is that these injections may help alleviate symptoms of depression. Recent studies have shown that the same paralyzing effect of Botox that reduces the appearance of wrinkles may also reduce the negative emotions associated with depression. This is because the act of frowning and furrowing one’s eyebrows has been linked to feelings of sadness, anger, and confusion. By preventing these facial movements, Botox may be able to help improve overall mood and well-being. However, further research must be done to know whether this is a potential treatment option.

While Botox injections are primarily known for their effectiveness in cosmetic efforts, there are a variety of other benefits that make it an attractive treatment option for a range of concerns, including migraine and, potentially, much more.