Is Botox Effective for Chronic Migraine Relief?


November 24, 2020

Those suffering from chronic migraines know just how detrimental the condition can be. Migraine symptoms are often so overwhelming that they can take over your whole day, making it next to impossible to focus on anything other than the pain itself. These symptoms can last anywhere between a few hours and a few days, and often include:

  • Intense, throbbing pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Migraine auras 

Chronic migraines are migraine headaches that occur 15 or more days per month, for three months or longer. Experiencing chronic migraines often leads to missed workdays, a loss in overall productivity, and suffering your way through the day instead.

Avoiding known migraine triggers and taking common pain relief medications may work for some, but for others whose condition may be more difficult to treat, Botox could play an important role in chronic migraine relief.

What is Botox?

Botox is often recognized as a cosmetic treatment used to smooth out facial lines and wrinkles. However, the use of Botox injections has also been proven effective in treating certain medical conditions as well. It was approved by the FDA in 2010 after clinical studies showed a significant reduction in the frequency of migraine headaches.

Botox or botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) comes from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which when ingested (typically only present in spoiled food) can have dangerous effects that may lead to botulism. However, small doses of BoNT injected directly into a localized area can produce a relaxing effect on the muscles and block pain signals to the area. This occurs because the Botox shots can “interrupt pain production by blocking the release of pain-producing chemicals such as substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP),” according to Harvard Health.

What to Expect from Botox Treatment for Chronic Migraines

Botox treatment may be comprised of 20 or more injections per session and must be administered by a pain management physician. The shots are typically well-tolerated by patients with few to no side effects. Botox treatments for chronic migraine relief can provide a significant reduction in pain and migraine frequency for about 3 months before the treatment needs to be repeated.

For some, optimal pain management may be achieved by continued use of over-the-counter or prescription medication for chronic migraine prevention and relief, in addition to regular Botox treatments every few months.

How SEPSC Can Help

If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic migraines, finding the right treatments for migraine prevention and pain relief is key to living without your chronic pain holding you back. At Southeast Pain & Spine Care, we strive to help you achieve effective pain management. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.