Botox Injections for Migraines, Muscular Spasms, and More!
Botox Injections Aren’t Just Cosmetic
People around the world struggle with various forms of chronic pain; fortunately, there are many treatments for its diverse presentation. Migraines are one such type of pain that afflicts 39 million individuals in the United States, and nearly 1 billion individuals globally. These chronic, often-times debilitating headaches are typically treated with medications, acupuncture, or other therapies. One of these other common yet unexpected means of treatment is the utilization of Botox injections.
The Botulinum toxin is most famously known for its use in cosmetic procedures to arrest muscles of the face and achieve tighter, less-wrinkled skin; however, these injections may also be used for intercepting nerve signals that make you feel pain, therefore providing relief from the intense suffering associated with migraines.
The ability for Botox to relax targeted muscles over prolonged amounts of time––for many, nearly 3 to 4 months––allows for the injections to treat various other conditions as well, many of which are characterized by muscular spasms. This can be particularly beneficial to victims of stroke who have lost control of their extremities and may require the toxin to relax their muscles. Additionally, individuals with Cervical Dystonia, Cerebral Palsy, and Fibromyalgia may see some relief from their symptoms if treated with Botox.
How Does Botox Treatment Work?
Injections of the Botulinum toxin can be strategically placed in 31 locations across the head and neck to relieve pain due to migraines and chronic headaches. Injections may also be strategically placed in 20 locations of the upper arm to relieve spasticity (frequent muscle spasms).
A 30-gauge needle is typically utilized for injecting the Botulinum toxin into the target location. The word “toxin” may make this sound like a dangerous or high-risk procedure; however, it is very low risk when performed by a trained medical professional. The injected liquid is simply a derivative of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and is used to relax the target muscles.
How Effective is Botox?
There is a false stigma surrounding the use of Botox in that it is only effectively used for cosmetic purposes or altering your body. This couldn’t be further from the truth because Botox has shown significant success in ridding people of their chronic migraines or bringing control to their spasm-prone extremities.
The pain alleviation experienced is, of course, a very personal journey that is dependent on the severity of one’s condition, but it is standard for a qualifying patient to expect about 3 to 4 months of symptom relief. The full extent of the Botox injection is generally observed about two to four weeks following the date of treatment. Thus, Botox offers a relatively quick and highly minimally invasive solution to pain, with equally minimal preparation and recovery associated. In other words, you should be able to go home and function as normal immediately following your injection.
Repeat the injections are often necessary for compounded, long-term relief. This is still a relatively new method of pain relief despite receiving FDA approval in 1997, but the field of pain management has seen promising results in those treated with it thus far.
Wrapping it Up
Botox injections offer a localized and direct method of providing symptom relief, as the injections are performed right in the muscular regions requiring relaxation or pain-relief. Doing so bypasses the need for a systemic coverage of the body to achieve the desired outcome (like what is typically achieved with oral medication).
Few medical treatments are completely risk-free; thus, it is important to consider the lower risk, yet still existent, negative potentials associated with Botox injections. The more commonly experienced side effects include temporary bruising or pain near the injection site in the few days following treatment. Additionally, individuals who have previously been unexposed to the toxin may experience an allergic reaction to treatment. In this event, additional medical attention should be pursued. On the more extreme side exists the risk of long-term nerve damage and permanent paralysis of a target muscle. Fortunately, these remain unlikely so long as you follow medical advice on precautions and timelines, as well as make sure to not cut corners by receiving treatment from an untrained medical professional (even if it is cheaper!).
When considering any new treatment, it is important to inform your doctor of any preexisting health conditions and the medications that you are taking (this includes pregnancy). If you qualify, Botox injections for chronic migraines and muscular spasm relief may be the treatment you’ve been waiting for! Book your appointment with our doctors at Ospina Medical if you wish to learn more about if this is an option for you!
Written By: Reggie Rudd
Edited By: Camden Rowe