When you hear the word BOTOX, chances are you think of a wrinkle-smoothing drug that is injected into your skin. It is true that over 4 million patients choose to receive BOTOX® treatment for cosmetic purposes, but did you know that it has also been shown to help reduce migraines? In fact, BOTOX® is an amazing drug that has helped treat a wide variety of conditions.
What is BOTOX®?
BOTOX® is actually a type of neurotoxin. More specifically it is called OnabotulinumtoxinA, and it is produced by bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. This neurotoxin in its natural state leads to an illness known as botulism that paralyzes muscles.
Sounds scary, right? It’s not. It is precisely this effect on muscles that allows doctors to treat patients for so many different (and common) conditions. BOTOX® injections block the chemical signals responsible for muscle contraction and can last up to 4 months. BOTOX® only blocks the nerves responsible for motion, not for pain, so don’t expect to come out of a session with a numb face.
Can BOTOX® Really Help with Migraines?
Yes! The effect was discovered by accident, and evidence of this effect was given to the FDA in 2010. It was officially approved shortly after. While not fully understood as to why it has this effect, it is thought that the loosening of muscles due to the paralyzing effect of BOTOX® reduces stiffness and relaxes muscles, as well as block pain signals to the brain.
What else can BOTOX® Treat?
In addition to cosmetic purposes, the FDA has approved BOTOX® as a treatment for the following conditions:
- Chronic migraines
- Excessive sweating
- Overactive bladder
- Neck spasms
- Blepharospasm (AKA twitchy eyelids)
There are also many studies into other conditions that can be treated with BOTOX®, though they have yet to receive FDA approval. Depression, abnormal heartbeat after open-heart surgery, and cold hands are just a few.
What is BOTOX® Treatment Like?
BOTOX® is administered through a series of simple injections into the skin and muscles. The number of injections depends mostly on how much surface area needs to be treated. The toxin is completely safe, when administered by a professional, as it remains within 3cm of the injection site. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes. After the procedure, there may be some swelling, but it usually goes down within an hour. Be careful not to rub on or near the injection site, as this may cause the toxin to move around. You’ll have to be a little patient, as it takes about 3 or 4 days for wrinkle to smooth over noticeably.
Interested in BOTOX®? Have more questions? Come schedule an appointment at Hinsdale Eye Center, located in Hinsdale, Illinois! (Or click here to request your appointment online!)