6 Myths About Botox Injections for Chronic Migraines

Try this treatment for migraines

People who suffer from chronic migraines experience headaches that occur 15 or more days a month for at least three months. Just imagine how painful and disabling it is to have several days of severe headache attacks that last for more than 4 hours. It can be very debilitating that it impacts every aspect of a person’s life.  

Although the prevalence of chronic migraine in the UK is unknown, some clinicians consider that rate to be 1 in 1000 people. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this disorder. But there are a few treatments that can help ease the symptoms. Among these preventive treatments is the chronic migraine botox treatment. But before you schedule an appointment at the nearest clinic, make sure you know what you’re getting into. To help clear things up, here are some myths that you should be aware of:

Myth #1: Botox injection is not approved for chronic migraine use in the UK. 

In 2010, the government approved the use of Botox injections for chronic migraines in the UK. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) even released a guideline 2 years later that pushes for the local National Health Service (NHS) settings to fund the treatment.

Following this guidance, Botox injection for treating chronic migraine was made available for suitable patients in England and Wales. The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) followed suit and approved chronic migraine Botox for restricted use by NHS Scotland in February 2017. 

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Myth #2: Everyone who suffers from migraine headaches is eligible for Botox treatment.  

Chronic migraine Botox is only approved for use in patients who have chronic migraines. It should not be used to treat other types of headache disorders, such as cluster headaches. For you to be considered a good candidate for Botox, you must be at least 18 years old and have chronic migraines.

To categorise the headache disorder as chronic migraine, the patient should have at least 15 attacks each month that involve migraine features, such as:

  • one-sided pain
  • throbbing pain
  • moderate or severe pain with a level that’s more than 5 out of 10
  • aggravation by physical activity (such as bending over)
  • sensitivity to light, sounds, or smell
  • nausea or vomiting

In addition to the signs that indicate a chronic migraine, the headache attacks should last for at least 4 hours and persist for more than three months.

Myth #3: Botox injections work immediately to relieve chronic migraines.

Unfortunately, immediate relief after one round of chronic migraine Botox is unlikely. The response to the botox treatment varies with each patient. Some can feel a reduction in headache-day as early as four weeks following the first treatment, while others enjoy the full benefit after two treatment sessions or six months.

Results include fewer migraine headaches, shorter pain durations, and lower pain severity. Depending on your response to Botox injections for chronic migraines, your doctor will recommend a length of time for your treatment plan. Don’t lose hope if you don’t see significant results immediately.

Myth #4: The more Botox injections you get, the better you will be.

Some patients think that they can see faster and better results if they inject more Botox in a short period. However, this is unwise and can be very dangerous. Clinicians will only administer botox injections for chronic migraines every three months. Even if you’re planning on scheduling a botox treatment for cosmetic or other purposes, you must inform your doctors. They need to know if you had Botox in the past and when the injection session happened.

Myth #5: There are few side effects and no serious risks.

Although complications and side effects of chronic migraine botox treatment are rare, there’s still a chance that they can happen.

The most common side effects, which usually resolve on their own within a few days, include:

  • neck pain
  • stiffness at the injection site
  • headache
  • temporary muscle weakness in the neck and upper shoulders

In rare cases, the toxin can spread to areas beyond the injection site and can result to:

  • muscle weakness
  • sharply raised eyebrows
  • drooping eyelids
  • vision changes
  • difficulty swallowing

To reduce the risk of serious complications, only schedule a chronic migraine Botox treatment with a board-certified and experienced physician or neurologist.  

Myth #6: After a chronic migraine Botox treatment, you no longer need to take acute medications.  

As mentioned earlier, results for chronic migraine Botox vary with each patient. Some patients may improve significantly after the treatment that they discontinue Botox sessions and medication without relapse. Depending on the course of your headache disorder, your doctor may still recommend certain medications to help alleviate its severity.

Takeaway

If other preventive treatments aren’t helping alleviate your chronic migraine symptoms, Botox injections might be your answer. This treatment option is quick and low risk, so there’s no need for you to worry. But before you begin receiving injections, be sure to consult with a certified and experienced doctor.  

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