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Botox and Migraines…what is the connection? When there is a head, there has to be a headache and a migraine is gradually surfacing as its prime accomplice; Botox stops muscle contractions by discharging acetylcholine thereby making headaches history. In the course of treating wrinkles physicians noticed a surprising extra benefit of the drug: Some patients whose brows were injected for wrinkles noted that their headaches disappeared! Based on these findings, further research has been done. In June 2003 at the AHS Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago, the results of a major study on Botox and migraine was presented. This was the largest scientific study to date. The results showed that 80% of headache sufferers said that their migraines were less frequent, less severe, or both. About ¾ of these patients had tried many other headache therapies (and that could be good news for many of us!). But what's the Botox migraines connection and why does it work? The most obvious possibility is that muscle tension plays a larger role in migraines than we first thought (much therapy focuses on blood vessels or neurological chemical factors). And so by relaxing the muscles, the headaches are not triggered. Botox also seems to cut down on our perception of pain, so that the headache itself wouldn't bother us as much. It does this by blocking a protein that carries pain messages to the brain. There is also likely a direct effect on the nerve innervating those muscles, helping to reduce the incidence of headache triggering. There's lots of good news when it comes to Botox and migraines. First, it has had a very good safety record and tends to have many less side effects than other migraine medications. It may be especially helpful for patients who are taking a great deal of other medications and need to stop. How is it actually injected? Botox is injected in liquid form under the skin into muscles. The most recent research suggests a fairly low dose and around 30 injections. The pain relief usually begins in about 2-3 weeks after the injections. The benefits last for about 10-13 weeks. Injections should not be given more than about every three months. Remember, you're in charge of your migraine headache treatment! Find the facts and keep looking for solutions.
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