What to do About Recurrent Migraines

On a global level, migraines are the third most common illness and the sixth most disabling. Bringing the numbers closer to home, approximately four million people in the United States suffer from chronic migraines — which is defined as having at least 15 migraine days per month. While we can continue with these eye-opening statistics, the point is that migraines are both prevalent and debilitating, preventing many people from leading normal lives.

At Commonwealth Pain and Spine, our team of highly qualified pain management experts understands the far-reaching impact that chronic head pain can have on the lives of our patients, and we’re prepared to fight back. While there’s much we still need to learn about migraines, we do know that one treatment has risen above the others in terms of addressing recurrent migraines — BOTOX®.

Here’s a look at how BOTOX can help you take back control of your life again if you're plagued by chronic migraines.

Behind BOTOX

BOTOX is also called botulinum toxin, and it’s produced by clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that leads to temporary paralysis in your muscles by preventing the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

While BOTOX took the cosmetic world by storm in the early 2000s, helping to erase fine lines and wrinkles, the drug has been in use since the 1970s and first gained FDA approval in 1989 to treat strabismus (misaligned eyes) and blepharospasm (muscle contractions in your eyelids).

When it gained FDA approval in 2002 for treating glabellar lines on the face, the medical world soon realized that people who used BOTOX and who also suffered from chronic migraines, reported fewer migraines.

This unintended side effect was formalized in 2010 when the FDA approved the use of BOTOX for chronic migraine sufferers.

BOTOX and migraines

If you have 15 or more headaches each month (at least eight of these should be migraines) that last four hours or more, our BOTOX treatment may be right for you.

In clinical trials, BOTOX prevented an average of 8 to 9 headache days and migraine (or probable migraine) days a month. In other words, BOTOX is a preventive treatment, stopping migraines before they even have a chance to take hold.

To determine whether BOTOX is right for you, we perform a thorough evaluation of your head pain, so you should do your part by keeping a detailed migraine diary before you come see us so we have a clearer picture of the problem.

If we find that BOTOX may be right for you, we start with two treatments, which we space apart by 12 weeks, to measure its success. If your headache days are reduced, we continue the treatment every 12 weeks thereafter to keep your migraines at bay.

The procedure itself is quick and easy and takes us only 15 minutes or so to strategically inject the BOTOX. After your treatment, you’re free to get on with your day, as there’s no downtime.

If you’d like to explore whether BOTOX is right for your chronic migraines, contact one of our 12 locations in St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky; Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper, Indiana; and Carmel, Indiana, to set up an appointment.

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