Treatment of Migraines and Headaches with Botox®
There is mounting evidence that Botox® is very effective for the "difficult to treat" headache.
How does it work?
The mechanism of action remains unclear. It is thought that Botox® blocks the transmission of nerve impulses which act as a cascade to trigger headaches, such as a migraine. This blockade permits the relaxation of the muscles injected and diminishes the transmission of pain signals.
Which areas are treated?
Botox® Therapeutic is injected into the affected muscles of the head and neck.
How long does it last?
Patients will notice an improvement in the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines over a 3 to 5 month period, after which time the treatment can be repeated if needed. It is unknown at this time if the benefits are cumulative with time. Onset of results is typically achieved within two weeks.
Are there other benefits?
- Patients may choose to discontinue use of other headache medications which are often expensive, addictive, sedating, or cause gastrointestinal upset, including ulcers.
- Forehead frown lines and worry lines may disappear as a result of treatment.
Who can benefit from treatment with Botox®?
It is most beneficial for patients that suffer very frequent or chronic daily headaches, such as
- Migraine patients.
- Patients suffering from tension-type headaches.
- Patients suffering from cervico-genic headaches.
- Patients with post traumatic headaches.
It is not a cure, but rather a method of control that has fewer side effects than some of the conventional treatments for headaches.
Are there any risks?
- There is a risk that the treatment will be ineffective. It does not work for everyone. At present, there are no reliable clinical indicators that help predict which patients might benefit.
- Temporary bruising may occur at the site of injection.
- The muscles that are responsible for raising the eyebrows, and the muscles that elevate and shrug the shoulders may be temporarily affected, but this is not a major concern.
- Repeated exposure to Botox® does not cause long term problems, and the effects of the medication reverse with time.
Many extended health plans will cover the cost of Botox® Therapeutic for the treatment of headaches and migraines. After the initial complimentary consultation, Dr. Setterfield will provide you with a letter for your insurance company.
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