If you are looking for a treatment to relieve your migraines or chronic headaches, you may be surprised to learn that Botox is approved as a safe and effective treatment. In 2010, Botox was licensed to treat migraines by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and it is also FDA-approved for chronic migraines of 15 days or more. Botox was also recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment, used off-label to treat migraines since 2000. Millions of Botox treatments have given people relief from the debilitating pain that migraines can bring. Whether or not Botox will work for your migraines, we recommend giving it a try. Read on to learn all about treating severe headaches and migraines with Botox.
What Is a Migraine?
A migraine is worse than any headache you’ve ever experienced. Besides the intense throbbing in the head, many people experience nausea, dizziness or vertigo, increased sensitivity to light, visual impairment and distortions. Basically, you are laid out during a migraine episode. Depending on the severity and length of the migraine, many people can not do anything but lie in a dark room until the pain subsides.
While there are prescription painkillers for migraines, many people do not feel the benefit or relief and would rather not be dependent on drugs. This is where Botox steps in as an exciting alternative to pharmaceuticals. Keep in mind that its use may not be covered by the NHS — depending on the type and severity of your migraines. You’ll want to discuss it with your doctor to see if this method of treatment can help.
What Is Botox (Botulinum Toxin Type A)?
Botulinum toxin is just as it sounds — it’s a neurotoxin known to paralyse muscles and cause botulism. However, in small doses, this toxin can be helpful for various treatments. While there are seven different types of botulinum toxin, it’s type A that was introduced in the 70s and 80s to use in the medical field for things like muscle spasms, lazy eye, excessive sweating and an overactive bladder. Around the 90s, some patients commented on how the Botox treatment was helping to reduce their headaches and that is when researchers started toying with the idea that it could be used to treat migraines.
The idea is that Botox is injected into the pain fibres around the face and head, which has an analgesic effect that reduces pain, relaxes muscles and eases tension. Studies show that Botox relieves pain from migraine more than placebos. Some patients reduced the number of days they experienced migraines by half after receiving regular Botox treatments, usually spaced three months apart.
You can get Botox at Harley Street Medical for treatment of migraines. Most patients tolerate Botox well and it’s considered minimally-invasive with no side effects to treatment. We can discuss your needs in a free consultation and come up with the best treatment plan for you.
What Does the Science Say about Treating Migraines with Botox?
There have been many studies that show Botox works for some people to reduce migraines and gives them a chance to have more pain-free days each month. At six months, after two cycles of treatment, those treated with Botox had, on average, eight fewer days of headache each month. After 12 months, 70% of those treated had a 50% reduction in headaches. After seeing these results, one large trial followed some patients to see if Botox could be a long-term solution to migraines. After three years of regular Botox treatments, most patients had a 50% reduction in migraines as well. This is great news for migraine sufferers — and they get the bonus of reducing wrinkles.