You may have injections in your forehead, temples, and back of your head and neck. Sometimes, the specialist will inject areas called “trigger points” where the headache originates. Doctors believe that botox works for migraines because it blocks chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry pain signals from the brain. Botox is like an obstacle on that path.
It stops chemicals before they reach the nerve endings around the head and neck. Botox is injected around the pain fibers that participate in headaches. Botox enters the nerve endings around where it is injected and blocks the release of chemicals that are involved in pain transmission. This prevents the activation of pain networks in the brain.
The guidelines recommend that Botox be given in a series of 31 to 39 small injections. They are given under the skin or into the muscles of the head of the forehead and around it, above the ears and up to the neck. The person performing the treatment will have been trained to administer Botox for chronic migraine. In general, Botox injections are given every 12 weeks to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine.
However, be sure to follow the dosing schedule that your doctor recommends. Since 2002, Mayo Clinic doctors have treated thousands of patients with chronic migraine effectively and safely with Botox. The drug is usually injected into the muscles of the forehead, scalp, neck and shoulders. Andrew Blumenfeld suggests asking doctors how many injections they will give and where they will be given.
If you experience any of the above symptoms after receiving a Botox injection, you should talk to your doctor. Although there is no confirmed case in which Botox spreads to other parts of the body, it is possible and could be fatal. In a study of adults suffering from chronic migraines, Botox injections reduced the total number of days they had migraines or even other types of headaches. In some cases, people who receive Botox injections to prevent headaches experience improvements in their condition within 2 to 4 weeks.
Treatments aren't given more often because of the small chance that if you receive Botox more often, your body could build up antibodies to botulinum toxin. Although rare, Botox injections to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine can cause serious side effects. Jennifer gave me the first shot and I had really thought about it too much and made it look a lot worse than it was going to be. If Botox doesn't work for you or stops working, the specialist will discuss other treatment options with you.
Usually, doctors recommend not using Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, because the effects of the drug on the fetus are unknown. Before you receive Botox injections to prevent headaches due to chronic migraine, there is important information you should be aware of. Botox is usually given until the migraine has changed to episodic migraine for three months in a row, or until there is significant improvement in disability using quality-of-life questionnaires. If you want to notify the FDA about a side effect you have had with Botox, you can do so through MedWatch.