Botox used to treat chronic migraines

By November 18, 2013Headaches

A few years ago, the idea of injecting toxins from pig’s meat into your face to look pretty, was largely frowned upon (no pun intended). Today, though, Botox has made its way up the ranks, and many housewives (not all desperate) book regular visits to their aesthetic practitioner for facials, peels, and the ‘quick lunch-hour injection’. As more and more patients use the product with excellent results, Botox’s use is dramatically being de-stigmatized.

Botox and Chronic Migraines

However, apart from preserving the youthful appearance of thousands of women (and men), this controvertial drug has now also been approved by the FDA to treat patients who suffer from chronic migraines. Last year, BBC news announced that NICE would fund Botox through the NHS for the treatment of patients who suffer from chronic migraines.

In response to this article, a friend of mine asked me about the mechanism of Botox, and why it helps for migraines. Rightly so; because if you Googled it, the answers you’d find, are confusing at best. The simple answer to this question would have to be “We just don’t know.” However, doctors find it hard to utter these words: if someone entrusts their health, and oftentimes their lives into your hands, they expect resolute certainty : they expect you to know (preferably everything). Much of medicine, though, is based on probability, theory and studies. We definitely don’t simply take things at a whim, but we also don’t always have clear-cut explanations for everything.

Does Botox Work for Migraines?

What it boils down to, is that Botox has been proven to work effectively in treating chronic migraines, and that it is a very safe drug when injected only locally. (If you want to know how Botox works, it basically paralyzes the local muscle that it is injected into. But why this helps for migraines, is still unclear, since the mechanism of how migraines work, lies in the vessels inside the brain, not in the muscles that are injected. Theories ventured to explain how it works, are unfortunately only that: theories.)
The upside? You can now get wrinkle-treatment and migraine-treatment in one sitting, and it can last anything from 4 to 6 months.

Read  5 practical ways to prevent a migraine

The Downside?

Botox is relatively expensive, and one treatment can cost from around R4000,00 up to R8000,00.
Apart from migraines, Botox can also be used to treat severe teeth-clenching (a condition requiring multiple specialists to adequately treat), profuse sweating and strabismus (misaligned eyes), all with great results.

Penicillin is made from mould. Botox is a toxin from a bacteria. And yet, if used correctly, both these drugs can offer tremendous results. So, don’t let your prejudice get in the way of progress: too many people have suffered unnecessarily, (and some even died) because of hang-ups and stubborn thinking.

Written by Dr. Albert Viljoen

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