Botolinum toxin therapy is most commonly known as the anti-wrinkle treatment Botox, yet Botox also has a number of lesser known medical uses.
When used as a cosmetic treatment, Botox works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles, preventing fine lines and wrinkles occuring. The paralysis effect of botolinum tocin therapy has also been used as an effective treatment for dystonia (involuntary muscle spasm) and has now been approved by the NHS as a treatment to repetitive migraine headaches.
Migraines are painful recurring headaches which can cause dizziness, nausea and temporary sight loss. Migraines are commonly triggered by an allergic reaction (coffee, cheese, chocolate and oranges are common triggers), eye spasms caused by eratic or strobe lighting and by spasms of forehead and neck muscles.
Botox as a cosmetic treatment is often used to remove fine lines and wrinkles around the eye and brow area. Initial research into Botox as a migraine cure was developed after women having regular Botox treatment to prevent wrinkles noticed their migraine headaches significantly reduced in frequency. Since then doctors have focused attention on the effect of muscle paralysis, concluding that Botox does offer a significant reduction in migraine headaches.
According to studies, 90% of migraine sufferers experience fewer headaches after targeted Botox injections in the browline and the neck - the muscles which spasm when a migraine headache occurs. In a study of 1,300 people 70% of migraine sufferers experienced 50% fewer migraines after regular Botox injections.
The British National Health Service (NHS) says sufferers will be given a series of Botox injections using a method similar to accupuncture - injecting the Botox into known migraine trigger points such as the neck and forehead muscles. As Botox provides a temporary muscle paralysis, patients will be given repeated injections every 3-6 months to prolong the migraine-averting effects if responsive to anti-migraine Botox treatment.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.