Treating Headaches with Botox®

For years now, Botox® has been a popular anti-aging treatment. It has been a boon for those seeking quick and minimally invasive treatment to remove wrinkles and smooth out the complexion. Derived from the Clostridium botulinum bacterium which can cause the disease botulism, Botox® is an example of medical science turning a potentially dangerous substance if exposed to in very high doses into a beneficial treatment. In fact, one thing few people consider is that Botox® can also have health benefits. For the past several years, it has been licensed and FDA-approved for use in treating chronic migraine headaches.

Botox® and Botulism

Botulism is classified as a type of foodborne illness, which results in muscle paralysis caused by a toxic bacterium. Medical professionals have known about this condition since 1817, with the bacterium itself isolated in 1895. There are seven subtypes of the botulinum toxin about which we know.


is a diluted version of the botulinum toxin type A (one of the seven serotypes), which has been used since the 1970s to treat everything from writer’s cramp to post-stroke spasticity as well as in cosmetic situations.

Botox® and Chronic Pain

Usually, Botox® works by relaxing muscles, which are overactive. However, this may not be the mechanism of action when treating migraine headaches. While the exact mechanism of action for Botox® in chronic migraine headache treatments is still unclear, it is undisputed that Botox® does help in chronic migraine headaches.


The efficacy of Botox® in chronic migraines was demonstrated through two Phase 3 clinical trials which used a sample of nearly 1,400 patients suffering from the condition. The patients in the trials suffered an average of 20 migraine days every month, at least 18 of which were categorized as moderate or severe.

A random sample of the patients received Botox® injections every 12 weeks over a period of 56 weeks. Subjects in the Botox® group reported, on average, about half the instances of headaches after 12 months of treatment.


Botox® is only rated for treatment of chronic migraines, not other types of headaches. If you have headaches more than 15 days per month, and at least half of these have features defined as being migrainous, you may be eligible for treatment.

Be certain that when being injected, the person administering the Botox® treatment has proper training in the use of Botox. In addition, it is important to engage an informed dialogue with your provider regarding your options for treatment before deciding that Botox® is right for you.

From food poisoning to medical treatment— Botox® has come a long way since the botulism toxin was first discovered in the 19th century. If you suffer from chronic migraine headaches and nothing else seems to work, we may be able to help with your problem. Give us a call today!

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