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Forget wrinkles: How Botox therapy can relieve chronic migraines

Posted on Jan. 27, 2014 ( comments)

The last time you skipped that morning coffee, or had an interrupted night of sleep, you may have experienced this: throbbing, pulsating headache from deep within that just will not go away. It makes you regret ever having changed your routines.

Questions about Botox for migraines? Connect with Dr. Oliaei

Headaches can affect three out of four people but for a significant minority, they can be severe and disabling. Chronic daily migraine headache is one of the more common forms of severe headaches. This is a disabling condition that maybe associated with a variety of neurologic conditions such as dizziness, hearing loss, ear and facial pain as well as eye symptoms.

In a majority of cases specific medical treatments have been employed by neurologists or general practitioners for treatment and/or prophylaxis of migraine headaches. Many of these medications however have significant side effects and/or they may not have the ability to prevent the onset of the headaches.

In recent years, Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons have been at the forefront of treatment of migraine associated problems. It has been demonstrated that nerves emanating to the face may have associations with the occurrence of migraine headaches.

A 2011 study in Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery demonstrated that surgically releasing specific “trigger sites” may provide long-term relief for some sufferers of chronic migraine. In this study, 88 percent of patients who underwent surgical deactivation of targeted trigger sites reported at least a 50 percent reduction in the frequency, severity and duration of their migraine headaches five years later.

An ENT surgeon recently discovered that while injecting Botox for treatment of facial wrinkles, his patients reported significant and relatively long-lasting improvements in occurrence of their headaches.

Further investigations of this discovery led to the 2010 approval by the FDA of Botox as treatment for chronic daily migraine headaches. This was one of the first FDA-approved medications for migraines in decades!

Frequently Asked Questions: Botox and chronic migraine

ENT physicians can also help with treatment of recently recognized migraine-associated symptoms pertaining to the ears. These can range from imbalance, severe dizziness, sensation of ear fullness, ear pain, and even temporary or permanent hearing loss.

With new advances and increased understanding of the disease process and with a multidisciplinary team consisting of primary care physicians, neurologists and ENT surgeons, migraine sufferers may have some hope for new forms of treatment.

Disclaimer: Botox and other treatments of migraines may not be applicable or appropriate for all patients. Not every office is equipped or has expertise in treating these disorders so be sure to call and ask about this prior to your visits.

Posted in: General Vitals

About The Author

Oliaei_Sepehr Sepehr Oliaei, MD

Sepehr Oliaei, MD, is an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) at MultiCare ENT, Sinus & Allergy Specialists - Tacoma. To schedule an appointment or evaluation, call 253-403-0065.

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