Botulinum Toxin Injections: Migraine Pain

Botulinum toxin injections are not only used for aesthetics.  Your doctor may consider administering shots in the head and neck to dull the pain of migraine headaches and even, prevent a future attack.  The injections are FDA approved to treat migraines and have proven effectiveness.  Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin produced by the bacteria by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that causes botulism.  When it is purified and used in tiny doses, it reduces muscle contractions for approximately 3 months, thus reducing the pain and frequency of migraine headaches.

According to a Harvard Medical School article, botulinum toxin injections are used to treat numerous medical conditions such as muscle spasms, excessive sweating, overactive bladder, and some eye conditions that involve the muscles.  It is however most commonly used by physicians to alleviate the pain of migraines.  Chronic migraine is a headache occurring for more than 15 days a month over a three-month span.

So how does it prevent the next migraine? The injections rose to popularity to decrease lines and wrinkles and in doing so, patients began reporting a decrease in headaches.  In 2010, two studies demonstrated the benefits of treating migraine headaches with botulinum (Rizzoli, 2019).  Prevention of migraine headaches with botulinum is due to how the toxin is received into the nerves where it modifies the release of neurotransmitters carrying signals between brain cells.  This same process interrupts pain production.  While it may decrease migraine pain, it does not fully treat the underlying condition.  It’s not a cure but definitely an effective treatment option!

Patients who have failed other treatments can consider botulinum toxin injections to treat migraines.  It can help you feel better and get back to living your life.