Botox Headache Injection

Over the past ten to fifteen years, there has been an increased interest in the Botox headache injection.  Admittedly, using Botox to treat headache and migraine is still controversial, but many patients have found relief.  You can read more about the discussion going on, specifically related to migraine, in the article Botox for Migraine.

But what about the treatment itself?  What is it like, and what can you expect from it?  That's what we'll be investigating here.

An overview of concerns

There are a number of factors to weigh when deciding whether or not to try Botox.  Of course, there's the cost.  The side effects tend to be minimal, although there have been some reports that show there can be complications (see Botox Scare).  Generally speaking, a Botox headache injection should not be the first thing you try.  If you've tried more standard treatments without success, it may be something to consider.

Finally, it can take several months before patients really get a benefit from the treatment.  Though some patients see an improvement right away, you may have to wait six months to a year before you really knew how effective the treatment was.  (read about a Botox trial here, and a patient considering Botox here)

Also, keep in mind that some types of headache and migraine seem to respond better than others.  Research still needs to be done to understand who will benefit most from Botox headache injections.  There is some evidence that, besides migraine, those with tension type headache, headache from neck pain such as headache from cervical dystonia may benefit.

Botox headache injection treatment

So what is Botox treatment like?  Different places will do it differently.

Botox headache injection
 Some will inject you in a standard fashion around the forehead and temples, or in other areas such as the neck.  More and more a targetted approach is being taken, where the doctor will check with you over a long period to see which injection locations are the most helpful.

The needle used for Botox headache injection is very fine, so the treatment is not usually very painful.  Some patients compare it to feeling a bug bite.  Sometimes a topical anaesthesia is given to minimize the discomfort.  Unlike some injections, the Botox itself should not cause any pain, especially considering only a very small amount is injected.

Treatment only takes a few minutes.  Most patients are able to go home and carry on with life right away.  Once in a while there is minor, temporary bruising from the injections (often covered up by makeup).  Occasionally there is minor swelling, that a little ice can help.  Read more about general Botox treatment here.  Visit the Botox site for more on Botox headache injection safety information.

Summary

The good news is that, if it works for you, one treatment may last 3-4 months.  It's important to track your progress over the months before and during your treatment using a headache diary like this one.  That way you can see how much you're benefiting, and whether things are improving or not as time goes by.

If standard treatments and lifestyle changes aren't helping you, Botox injections may be something to explore.

For more to consider before trying Botox, read Botox Treatment For Migraines

If you found this information helpful, be sure to visit the Headache and Migraine News Blog for frequently updated headache and migraine news and tips!

Image above © James Steidl | Dreamstime.com