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Botox- Not Only a Cosmetic Treatment for Wrinkles

For decades, Botox has become a household name for an in-office cosmetic procedure that temporarily freezes facial muscles in order to reduce forehead lines, crow’s feet lines, and frown lines.  However, many people do not know that Botox is also a safe and effective treatment for those suffering from chronic headaches or migraines.

Headaches are one of the oldest infirmities known to humankind, and many treatment options have been created and tested throughout the years. Typically, treatments for headaches and migraines fall into four categories: medication, non-invasive techniques, lifestyle adaptation, and surgery. Migraines and recurrent headaches are debilitating and can greatly affect a patient’s quality of life, and ability to complete everyday tasks such as attending work or school.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons at the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction have been successfully treating migraine headaches and other headache conditions, such as Occipital Neuralgia, with Botox for many years. Botox works by blocking muscle contraction while, in turn, relaxing or freezing the muscles temporarily. In regions of “trigger points,” nerves are believed to be compressed or irritated by certain muscle contractions. By relaxing the muscles in the area or areas of compression, the source of nerve irritation is resolved, and the resulting migraine or headache will be reduced or eradicated. Our surgeons recommend getting Botox treatments for migraines about every 12 weeks for the best results.

Surgical Treatment for Headaches in New Jersey

Patients who experience temporary pain relief following Botox injections may be appropriate candidates for surgical intervention. Botox has been found to be most effective in patients with Occipital Neuralgia. Occipital neuralgia occurs when the occipital nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up through the scalp are injured or inflamed, which is what causes the painful headache symptoms. In addition to pain, these headache sufferers can feel tenderness or diminished sensation around the area of the nerve. Occipital Neuralgia is characterized by a jabbing, fleeting headache, as opposed to migraines which often last 4-72 hours. Occipital neuralgia causes similar side effects to migraine headaches but may respond very differently to certain forms of treatment.

At the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, our surgeons offer nerve decompression surgery which is a permanent way of reducing or eliminating headaches. This surgery involves a minimally invasive approach to the nerves in the head and neck region that cause or contribute to headache symptoms. The nerve sites are relieved when the surgeon removes muscle, tissue lining, and blood vessels from the areas in which the nerves travel. Multiple trigger point sites can safely be addressed at once during the procedure. The number of locations on which to operate depends on each patient’s symptoms, and in which locations Botox treatment has been effective.

Our surgeons have seen great success in this surgery for patients with occipital neuralgia, with most having their headaches eliminated entirely. Our doctors have proudly performed this surgery since 2005.

To learn more about our treatments available for headaches, migraines, and Occipital Neuralgia, please call us or request an appointment today!