Botox: It's Not Just for Wrinkles

Sep 07, 2023
Botox: It's Not Just for Wrinkles
If you’re thinking about Botox®, you may be daydreaming about a wrinkle-free forehead. However, Botox has a range of applications beyond a youthful appearance, such as reducing, sometimes eliminating, chronic headaches.

Botox® is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the United States. You may not know, however, that the FDA cleared it for migraine prevention in 2010. Adding Botox to your treatment regimen may be your best option for tackling chronic headaches.

Neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Wade Steeves at Valley Neurology in Spokane Valley, Washington, offers a range of effective headache treatments customized to fit your needs.

Check these facts about Botox for headaches and why the therapy meets Dr. Steeves’ medical standards for safety, efficacy, and patient satisfaction.

What’s Botox?

Formulated for medical use, Botox is a neuromodulator that works by blocking the release of neurotransmitters, particularly acetylcholine, from nerve endings. That relaxes the targeted muscle(s), which is why it's so effective at smoothing wrinkles.

Other uses for Botox include treatment for:

  • Overactive bladder
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Cervical dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions in the neck)
  • Spasticity (muscle rigidity)
  • Blepharospasm (uncontrollable eyelid movement)
  • Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes)

Botox is also an effective therapy for reducing the frequency of chronic headaches.

How does Botox work for headaches?

When you have a headache, your body releases neurotransmitters associated with pain. Botox blocks the transmission of these substances where the nerves and muscles meet.

Botox injections in the muscles around the face, head, neck, and upper back interfere with pain-associated neurotransmission. So, the same mechanism that relaxes muscles and reduces spasticity also appears to interrupt the pain signals that lead to chronic headaches.

What are the benefits of Botox for chronic headaches?

The benefits of Botox for chronic headaches include its long-lasting effects. A single treatment, which may include several injections, can offer relief for up to three months.

Additionally, Botox injections are usually well-tolerated. They’re delivered with small needles into muscles just under the skin. You may experience a pinch with the injections and mild redness at the site, but these effects resolve quickly. 

Otherwise, significant side effects are rare when the injections are given by a qualified medical professional.

Do you need other headache treatments along with Botox?

Dr. Steeves recommends Botox injections for headaches as one step in a comprehensive, customized treatment strategy that may include other medications and lifestyle changes that help manage headaches.

For instance, most people benefit from identifying and avoiding personal headache triggers. That requires some detective work because triggers vary widely from one person to another. Examples include increased stress, lack of restful sleep, certain foods, or changes in weather.

Dr. Steeves works closely with his patients to ensure their strategies include the most up-to-date therapies available for headache relief, from pain relief for a current headache to measures that help prevent future events.

If you suffer from chronic headaches and other treatments haven't offered the results you expected, Botox might be a viable addition to your strategy.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Steeves at Valley Neurology today. Call the office or request an appointment online.