What are the Benefits of Using Botox® for Migraines?

Amanda Dean
Amanda Dean
A vial and syringe for a Botox® injection.
A vial and syringe for a Botox® injection.

Botox®, also known as OnabotulinumtoxinA, is sometimes prescribed to treat chronic migraines. Botox® injections are given in various places in the forehead and neck to paralyze nerves that cause muscles to tighten, resulting in migraines. These injections act prophylactically to prevent migraines from happening. Using Botox® for migraines has proven effective in helping chronic migraine sufferers avoid the onset of the painful condition.

Botox may be useful for tension headaches.
Botox may be useful for tension headaches.

Migraines create agonizing headache pain and nausea for sufferers. The symptoms can last from a few hours to days at a time. Oftentimes, patients are given little sympathy for this chronic pain, as people who haven't experienced a migraine just don't understand and can't empathize. Many sufferers find it difficult to spend time with family or work productively when the pain strikes. Most seek dark, quiet places that help to minimize the misery of a migraine. When migraines occur frequently, they can have a debilitating effect on relationships and careers.

Experts disagree over the benefits of using Botox injections to treat migraines.
Experts disagree over the benefits of using Botox injections to treat migraines.

Those who suffer from this kind of pain usually rely on prescription or over-the-counter medication to treat the symptoms. The etiology of migraine pain is poorly understood in the medical community. Yet, in recent years migraine disorders have received considerable attention from physicians and pharmaceutical researchers. Botox® has shown in some studies to help prevent the onset of migraines by keeping muscles from tensing. Doctors generally prescribe Botox® for migraines when a person is suffering from chronic pain.

The etiology of migraines is not well understood by medical professionals.
The etiology of migraines is not well understood by medical professionals.

For many years, Botox® was an acceptable off-label therapy for migraine sufferers. Since the use of Botox® for migraines has begun garnering more approval from government health agencies, scientists have been able to more carefully monitor the use of this therapy. The official guidelines state that injections should be given every three months. As Botox® can be dangerous, this treatment is generally reserved for those who most frequently suffer from migraines. Botox® also can be used in place of surgeries for migraine pain, or it may be used until surgery becomes feasible.

Migraine sufferers usually have certain places of the head where they experience the most pain.
Migraine sufferers usually have certain places of the head where they experience the most pain.

Many people who have used Botox® for migraines report a drastically reduced number of painful days. Botox® prevents muscles in the affected area from contracting. This is particularly helpful for tension headaches or migraines that present as a vise-like pressure on the head and neck. Migraines that are caused by muscle spasms respond very well to Botox® therapy as well.

Migraine sufferers usually have certain places where they experience the most pain. Botox® injections are not equally effective for all migraine locations. If pain occurs near the cheeks, at the top of the head, or between the eyes, Botox® may be ineffective. Botox® is also contraindicated during pregnancy or for people with neuromuscular disorders.

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    • A vial and syringe for a Botox® injection.
      By: VictorD
      A vial and syringe for a Botox® injection.
    • Botox may be useful for tension headaches.
      By: apops
      Botox may be useful for tension headaches.
    • Experts disagree over the benefits of using Botox injections to treat migraines.
      By: ipag
      Experts disagree over the benefits of using Botox injections to treat migraines.
    • The etiology of migraines is not well understood by medical professionals.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      The etiology of migraines is not well understood by medical professionals.
    • Migraine sufferers usually have certain places of the head where they experience the most pain.
      By: Doreen Salcher
      Migraine sufferers usually have certain places of the head where they experience the most pain.