How Botox relieves migraines

It is not clear how Botox relieves migraine headaches.

Oliver Dolly, an Irish researcher who devoted many years of his work to the study of botulinum toxin, has just published results of a new study which may help explain this question. Twelve years ago when I started using Botox for the treatment of headaches the only possible explanation for the way it worked was that it relaxed tight muscles. It is true that during a migraine attack muscles go into a contraction and many patients find some relief by massaging their temples, back of their head and neck. However, some people reported to me that injecting Botox relieved their headaches in the temples, forehead and back of the head, but not on the top of the head. I did not inject the top of the head because there are no muscles there. When I did inject those areas to my surprise pain on the top of the head improved as well. This has been also observed by many of my colleagues around the country. Dr. Dolly’s experiment showed that in addition to relaxing muscles, Botox prevents the release of CGRP (a chemical messenger – neurotransmitter) from nerve endings and stops painful messages from being transmitted along the nerves. It appears that relaxing muscles may be less important than stopping nerves from sending pain messages to the brain.

1 comment
  1. Joan says: 04/05/201011:05 am

    It have debilitating hormonal migraines.  I am 54 and went on HRT which helped lessen the amount of them.  Still have around 14 a month but only get 9 Imitrex a month.  I suffer a lot.
    My Doctor tried to get Medicare to approve Botox which they flatly declined.  It would be cheaper for them if they approved of it.
    I will survive and outgrow this hopefully.

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