Can Botox Really Alleviate My Migraines?

Millions of people worldwide have had a migraine at least once in their lives. A smaller percentage is plagued with frequent migraines, which can disrupt daily activities and cause sufferers to miss too many days of work due to unrelenting pain. Dr. Tarabishy at the Enhance Center understands how debilitating migraines can be, and he has helped countless people break free from their pain through various treatments, including Botox.

What are migraines?

A migraine is worse than just a headache, and doctors still don’t know exactly what causes them. However, it is believed that recurrent migraines are part of a neurological disorder that affects brain chemicals and neural pathways.

Symptoms of migraine include nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and unrelenting, throbbing pain. Some people also get an “aura,” or a disturbance in vision, before the onset of a migraine.

Some things are believed to trigger migraines, including menstruation, weather, stress, and certain types of foods. Many women even say that prolonged crying can trigger migraines.

Dr. Tarabishy will work with you and examine all aspects of your lifestyle to determine what might be triggering your migraines. Once he has done so, he will find the best treatment for you to help you get relief.

Traditional migraine treatments

The existing list of treatments for migraines is somewhat limited, and not everyone finds them effective. Traditional treatments include:

Abortive medications

Tripitans:

These drugs, such as Imitrex (sumatriptan) and Zomig (zolmitriptan), are called triptans. They are administered by injection, nasal spray, or in pill form. They typically relieve the pain of your migraine, but they do have side effects such as nausea and dizziness. Triptans are not recommended for you if you’re at risk of stroke or heart attack.

Ergot medications

These medications generally combine ergotamine with caffeine and are more effective if your pain lasts for more than 48 hours. They are most effective when taken shortly after the onset of a migraine. However, they can increase nausea and vomiting and may cause headaches with a rebound effect. Ergot medications are usually considered less effective than triptans.

Pain relievers

If you’re like many people with migraines, you may rely on a combination of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pain relievers. Some of the OTC medications include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.

You may also get prescriptions for anti-nausea medications if your migraines are accompanied by nausea.

You’re generally considered a good candidate for preventative medication regimens if you have four or more migraine attacks in a month, if symptoms last for more than 12 hours each time, or if pain-relieving medications don’t help.

Prophylactic/Preventative mediations:

Many classes of medications serve as prophylactic migraine medications:

Antihypertensives:

Beta Blockers:

This is a common group of blood pressure medications; propranolol is the most commonly used for migraine prophylaxis.

Common side effects of these medications include: Fatigue, dizziness, decreased exercise tolerance.

Nonselective beta blockers like propranolol should not be taken by patients with asthma, and all beta blocker should be avoided in some heart and vascular diseases

Calcium Channel blockers:

Less effective then beta blockers and migraine prophylaxis, verapamil could be considered second line for people who cannot take beta blockers.

Anticonvulsants:

Multiple medications from this family can be used and are effective in many patients.  These medications are to be avoided during pregnancy and many of him have many side effects.

Topiramate considered first line and is thought to be effective in preventing migraine headaches.  It should be avoided and people with glaucoma or kidney stones.  Common side effects include fatigue, concentration problems, and weight loss,

Valproic acid is an older anticonvulsant. It is effective in migraine prophylaxis and certain types of daily headaches.  It has a wide side effect profile including drowsiness, hair loss, nausea, and it should be avoided in patients with liver disease

Antidepressants:

Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline are shown to be effective in migraine prevention.  It may take up to 4 weeks to see response.

Other antidepressants, please used are venlafaxine or fluoxetine.

Common side effects of antidepressants include weight gain, drowsiness, dry mouth.

And care should be taken when the patient is taking other serotonin reuptake inhibiting drugs.

Chronic Daily headache

Is a headache disorder in which the patient suffers from more than 15 days a month with a headache, lasting at least 4 hours each, some at least are associated with nausea. This is the kind of headache that responds most to botulinum toxin.

What is Botox?

You may have already heard of Botox as a treatment for wrinkles. The same chemical can be used as a treatment for migraines as well. Botox is a form of botulinum toxin, which is purified for use. It is injected in tiny doses to reduce muscle contractions.

How Botox works to alleviate migraines

Botox is FDA-approved for treating people who have migraines on 15 or more days each month. It is injected in the face and neck to block the nerves that cause the pain of migraines.

When it works, it needs to be repeated every 90 days. Reportedly, two treatments relieves migraines in up to 50% of sufferers. You will likely know within six months if you’ll respond to the treatment.

If you struggle with chronic migraines and nothing has helped, it may be worth giving Botox a chance. Call Dr. Tarabishy today at the Enhance Center to see about Botox and other possible ways to help you feel better.

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