Botox Treatment for Chronic Migraine Headaches – New Research?


Research Done on Migraine Headaches

Due to highly stressful work and social environments these days, problems like headaches, anxiety, insomnia have become commonplace. Migraine headaches in particular have become more talked about in the recent past, with many cases being reported in people of various age groups.

Studies conducted by the Migraine Research Foundation have shown that in the United States alone 38 million people (including women and children) have suffered from migraine in some form or the other, and an estimate of 1 billion people suffer from this neurological disease worldwide.

From an economic and statistical point of view migraine/chronic headaches were found to be the cause of absence from work for 47% employees in non-manual work positions. Statistics from the NHS (United Kingdom) show that loss of productivity (absenteeism) caused due to migraines costs the government a loss of nearly £250 million ($323 million) per annum (conservative estimates).

To put things into perspective, more people suffer from migraines than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined. That goes to show that awareness of this disease has not yet reached the consciousness of the general public.

What Effects Do Migraine Headaches Have On Individuals?

Migraine attacks are unlike normal headaches as they can seriously incapacitate the person suffering from them. Effects include splitting headaches, throbbing sensations inside the head, dullness, aversion to environments with bright lights or loud sounds, nausea, physical exhaustion.

The World Health Organization has recognized severe migraine attacks to be in the same class as diseases such as dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis.

The biggest issue with migraines is that it has no clear cause for its onset. It has been related to genetics in the recent past and various other factors such as stress, anxiety, poor eating habits have also been linked with it. Also, the detection rate of migraine still remains very poor as people often brush off early symptoms and thus let the condition slowly aggravate.

Studies have shown that a staggering 50% of people remain undiagnosed or undertreated for the illness and less than 50 % of the diagnosed population consult a physician for medical attention.

Lastly, there exists no single cure for migraines as the symptoms may vary from person to person. There are however many measures that one may take keep the migraine at bay, these include tracking and noting trigger symptoms, maintaining a healthy diet, consuming moderate amounts of caffeine, sleeping for minimum recommended durations of time.

What Is A Botox Onabotulinumtoxin A Injection?

Botox is an effective new treatment method for adults suffering from chronic migraines. Botox treatment for chronic migraine headaches is designed especially for adults suffering from chronic bouts of migraines (15 days or more of headaches in a month, with each one lasting for at least 4 hours or more). Botox offers immediate results, with prevention of up to 9 headaches a month. It is also covered by many insurance schemes thus is a financially viable option. Lastly, only one injection is required every 12 weeks which means that no extra medication is needed.

What Is Inside a Botox Injection?

The main element inside the Botox onabotulinumtoxin A injection is the ‘botulinum toxin’. It was first introduced in a highly diluted form during the 1970’s and 1980’s to primarily cure problems such as squint and blepharospasm. During the 1990’s it was observed that patients using botulinum toxin injections found relief from their headache symptoms even though the intended use was not for that particular reason.

Clinical studies have since been carried out, and have shown that Botox injections are only effective in treating chronic migraines and no other kind of headache.

How Does Botox Treatment For Chronic Migraine Headaches Work?

Studies that have been carried out to understand how the Botulinum toxin works have not been able to point at one single mechanism that helps in controlling migraine, but rather a combination of different effects have been shown to cure the headache.

Recent research has suggested that the Botulinum toxin inhibits the pain of chronic migraine by closing down certain pathways within the trigeminovascular system, which is the body’s sensory system associated with headaches during a migraine attack.

Patients with severe migraines (18 days of chronic headaches in a month or more) had an average reduction of 8 headache days a month after just two treatment cycles.

Is Botox Treatment For Chronic Migraine Headaches For YOU?

Botox treatment for chronic migraine headaches has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug administration (FDA). However it may cause various side effects which could potentially be life threatening if left unreported. Various effects such as problems while swallowing, speaking, breathing might occur due to the weakening facial muscles.

Any pre-existing conditions of a similar nature should be reported to a physician before undergoing any treatment. Similarly, there is also a possibility of the botulinum toxin spreading to areas away from the injection site causing various effects such as double/blurred vision, drooping eyelids, loss of bladder control.

Lastly, various other precautions should be taken before undergoing the treatment, these include reporting any infections or allergies one might have, bleeding conditions that the body maybe suffering from, medications that one might be using.

Availability of the Treatment? Where Can I Locate a Specialist?

In the current scenario there are only selected specialists that are allowed to inject people with the Botulinum toxin as it is a highly skilled procedure. One should first consult their general practitioner and explore all options related to treating chronic migraine headaches.

Once one has decided upon Botox as their chosen path, they can use the website to locate their nearest specialist and work out their options with them. It is very important to understand that Botox is a highly specialized treatment and should only be used in cases of severe migraines.

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