While you may know a friend who uses Botox to get an extra lift or fullness in their face, you may not realize that Botox can be used to treat your friend who suffers from chronic headaches. The link between Botox for appearance sake and relief for headaches actually exists, according to Harvard Medical School, “in 2000, after some people receiving injections for cosmetic treatment of facial lines reported improvement of headaches.” This FDA approved injection can be done by our Republic Pain Specialists team to relieve pain you are experiencing. Chronic headaches are listed as patients who are experiencing headaches more than half of the month for at least 3 months.
How it Works
Botox is a brand name of a protein called botulinum neurotoxin and is used for several medical conditions, including eye spasms, excessive sweating, and helping patients with an overactive bladder. By injecting Botox, the protein is taken into the nerves, “where it may modify the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry signals between brain cells.” This interruption of the pain receptors sending messages can provide relief for patients for up to three months. Not only does Botox reduce the frequency of headaches, but it also reduces the severity in many patients. This method should not be used by patients who only experience occasional headaches.
Benefits of Botox
Due to the ongoing relief of pain, Botox is a great help for patients who have to miss work due to chronic headaches. Fewer missed days lead to more productivity and self-satisfaction for someone who may be used to missing multiple days a month to deal with debilitating pain. An additional benefit is many insurance companies accepting Botox as an acceptable form of pain relief allowing more access to more patients who need help. The relief can last for months, allowing patients to almost forget about their issues or allowing patients to work with medical providers to figure out new ways to adapt their lifestyle if there is a food or environmental trigger of these headaches.
Side Effects and Concerns
Anytime Botox is used, there is a risk of paralysis as the nerves are impacted. Most patients only experience a temporary feeling of paralysis, especially in the forehead, cheeks, or eyelids, which are closer to the injection site. Very occasionally, the injection site may experience irritation. If you experience significant drooping or irritation, let our team know. We can adjust the location of the injection slightly and hope there is improvement in the side effects. One concern is that Botox doesn’t treat the cause of the chronic headaches and should be part of Republic Pain Specialist’s multimodal plan to treat the pain and discover long term solutions.
If you are experiencing headaches for more than 15 days a month, we want you to feel relief. Honestly, if you are experiencing headaches for more than 10 days a month, while we may not recommend Botox, we still want you to feel relief. Our team can work with pains of all type to help you lead a healthy and happy lifestyle. To learn more, contact us today.