Botox for migraines and headaches
When you are under stress, or feeling tense, you may find yourself clenching your jaw. This can lead to persistent tension headaches, as there is a strong connection between jaw muscle tension and migraine. Botox injections in the jaw muscles have been found to play a role in preventing and reducing the pain of throbbing headaches, and have been approved in the UK for the treatment of chronic migraine.
How does Botox help stop headaches?
Botox is injected into the two main chewing muscles, the masseter muscles, which cover the sides of the jaw just behind the cheeks. These powerful muscles allow us to close and clench our jaw, and grind teeth. They are the strongest muscles in our body. The Botox targets these muscles, blocking the signals sent from the brain which tell the muscle to contract. By decreasing muscle activity, the muscles are more relaxed and pain signals are blocked.
Who will benefit from botox to prevent headaches?
Women are three times as likely as men to suffer from migraine. Using Botox in this way, is especially beneficial for people with permanently contracted muscles, or headaches that are linked with muscle spasms in the jaw muscles.
What does having botox to treat headaches involve?
A consultation and Botox injections can be performed in about an hour, after which, you should feel fine to go about your normal day.
Your doctor will spend time identifying the injection points and marking them with a pen. The areas will then be sterilised with antiseptic and fast acting local anaesthetic, before small amounts of Botox are injected through a tiny cosmetic needle.
What results can I expect?
The Botox will take a day or two to fully work into the muscle, with full effects after two weeks. You should notice that headaches are less frequent, and the pain less tense. Always check with the doctor, but Botox can usually be used alongside other migraine medications, so the treatment may give you that extra relief tablets alone haven’t quite achieved.
Botox can help to keep the jaw muscles relaxed from 3-6 months, after which it is hoped that the muscle will be able to contract normally without pain or spasms. The procedure can be repeated after this time if needs be.