Botox®, famous for smoothing out wrinkles on the face, has been approved to treat chronic migraine headaches. At Holtorf Medical Group, Botox injections have been shown to be an effective treatment option in the prevention of migraines, which are debilitating headaches that cause intense pulsing or throbbing pain and affect about 12% of Americans. Chronic migraine sufferers experience severe headaches 15 or more days each month with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer. Not only do migraines cause debilitating pain but they can also affect your family, work, and social life.
Botox is also used for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the underarms) in patients unable to obtain relief using antiperspirants. Excessive sweating affects both men and women, with approximately 3% of the population having overly active sweat glands. Such excessive sweating can cause both psychological and physical problems leading to distress, frustration and embarrassment.
Botox Treatment for Migraines
Botox blocks chemical changes on nerve endings and relaxes overactive muscles. To treat chronic migraine headaches, your Holtorf Medical Group physician will inject Botox into muscles of your forehead, the side and back of your head, and your neck and shoulders to produce a partial and temporary chemical “denervation” of the muscle. This causes the muscles to be too weak to contract. The dosage used to treat chronic migraine is very low since the muscles being injected into are small. The goal of these injections is to reduce symptoms associated with migraines, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells.
Botox treatments for migraines are typically given once every three to six months. Treatments can span a 15-month period, depending on the severity and frequency. Relief doesn’t happen right away. Improvement can take as long as 10 to 14 days. Some people may not experience any relief with their first set of injections and additional treatments may be necessary to provide relief.
Is Botox Right for You?
For your doctor to determine if you’re experiencing chronic migraine headaches, and to see if Botox therapy is right for you, it’s important for us to understand your headache days. You should keep track of your migraine history and how your migraines may be affecting your daily life in order for them to have a clear picture and to understand the treatment options that are right for you.
Botox is one of many treatment options available to individuals with chronic migraines. We may not recommend Botox injections until other treatment options have proved unsuccessful. However, Botox may be a better option if you do not tolerate migraine medication well.
Botox Treatment for Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)
In the treatment of hyperhidrosis a small dose (about 15 drops) of Botox is injected into the skin of your underarm to prevent the release of a chemical called acetylcholine which carries signals from the sympathetic nervous system to the sweat glands in the underarm to stimulate sweat production. The injection of the Botox simply blocks the nerves in the underarm that cause excessive sweating and thereby prevents sweating in that area.
If you’re not sure if you just have a little sweating problem or if think you fall into the 3%, consider these questions:
- Do you find yourself changing clothes frequently throughout the day due to perspiration?
- Do you keep an extra clothes, antiperspirants, powders or towels to help you manage the symptoms of your excessive sweating?
- Have you ever tried special powders, deodorants or prescription antiperspirants in an attempt to reduce your underarm sweating?
- Do you find yourself thinking way too much about sweat and soak stains?
- Do you ever feel like you’re the only one to walk into the room looking like you just spent the last ninety at the gym while dressed for work?
Typically Botox injections are administered using a very thin needle under the skin near the sweat glands in the underarms. You may be given more than one injection if your doctor feels the need. Also, you will sometimes continue to experience sweating in the affected area if the initial injections missed a few sweat glands. In that case a top-up dose of additional injections may be required.
Results You Can Expect
Research has shown that treating excessive sweating of the armpits with Botox is both safe and effective. When used to treat underarm excessive sweating, Botox has been shown to result in an 82-87% decrease in sweating. Results start to be noticeable approximately 2 to 4 days after treatment with the full effects usually noted within 2 weeks. Dryness typically lasts 4 to 12 months, but some studies have found it can last as long as 14 months.
Talk with Your Doctor about Botox
Botox isn’t right for everyone, but it might be right for you. If other preventive treatments have not eased chronic migraine symptoms or hyperhidrosis, it may be time to talk with your doctor about Botox.
The injections themselves are almost painless. You may experience a very small sting at each injection site. The process is quick, too. Each session lasts between 10 and 15 minutes and is virtually painless and requires very little time. If previous treatment options have not provided you with any relief, bring up Botox injections the next time you see your doctor.
For more information on Botox therapy, speak to our Patient Representative at 877-508-1177.