Wednesday, 14 August 2013

How BOTOX for Chronic Migraines Works?

Location and Climate Effects

San Jose, a growing urbanized city is a sizeable part and parcel of the Greater San Francisco Area. It is situated inland and is surrounded by mountains on three sides. San Jose enjoys a subtropical Mediterranean climate with 300+ days of sunshine and an annual mean temperature of 60.5F.  Ideal climate, beautiful location, yet who would think a Mediterranean climate can cause headaches and chronic headaches. The rise in temperature and the dip in the barometric pressure often accompanied by thunderstorms, studies and research have found causes migraines in people sensitive to the climate changes.

Peter Goadsby, the director of the University of California, San Francisco's Headache Centre confirms that scientific studies conducted by researchers have revealed that barometric pressure change like increased temperatures can accelerates migraine headaches. The studies also showed that the risk of a severe headache rose by 7.5 per cent for every 5C rise in temperature. Any falls in barometric pressure, 48 to 72 hours before also had an effect, though comparatively mild. However humidity and air pollution had no impact.

Weather-related triggers include:
  • Bright sunlight
  • Hot or cold temperatures
  • Dry air
  • Windy or stormy weather
  • Barometric pressure changes
For some people, a weather change is perceived to cause imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which prompts a migraine. When headaches are caused by weather-related triggers, this enhances headaches precipitated by other triggers.

FDA approved Treatment for Migraines

You may have lately observed that many a TV channel is carrying advertisements relating to Botox as a relief for people suffering from chronic headaches. This is true as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) for the treatment of migraine headaches. Injecting Botox into the muscles of the forehead and neck have shown to easing the intensity of the headaches and reducing the occurrences too in adults with chronic headaches. The treatment requires that repeat injections for about every 3 months / 12 weeks will need to be taken, with maybe three such sittings.


Botox is injected into 31 sites around the head with a five to ten minute gap between each injection. This procedure has to necessarily be administrated at a doctor's office. The effectiveness of the injection surfaces a week after the injections have been administrated. Botox when administrated in small doses is not poisonous to the body.

Is Botox administrated to everybody who suffers a migraine? The answer to that is “No”. Botox injections are definitely not considered as the first option for treatment of migraines. It is only considered after all other known options have been tried and have failed to provide any relief. Most insurance companies cover Botox treatments if two types of medications had been tried and both for at least two months, without any migraine improvements. Botox injections are normally administrated to those people who have migraines lasting at least 4 hours plus and at least for as long as 15 days or more each month

Is it Safe?

When performed by an experienced doctor, it is a safe procedure, however there is a possibility that mild side effects can occur. From feedback received, about 9% of patients say that they experienced temporary neck pain and about 5% said that they had a post-procedure migraine. Other possible side effects include injections-site pain, temporary swelling, redness, upset stomach and drooping eyelids, the latter a very rare side effect. Pregnant or breast feeding women are advised not to use Botox.

Studies have also shown that the effect of botulin toxin can cause the muscles where the injection is administrated to weaken, but reports on headache by people who had injections for cosmetic reasons also said that they had reduced numbers of migraines. There is no confirmed documented information as to how Botox injections help reduce the pain but the thought process is that it reduces pain signals from various receptors to the brain. The procedure takes around 10 to 15 minutes, with the patient sitting in a chair or on the couch. Since it's no more painful than acupuncture, patients don't need anesthesia. Results have shown that those patients who have been known to suffer from chronic headaches, after undertaking the full course of the treatment had months of relief from excruciating pain.

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