Cosmetic Procedures May Help Chronic Headache Sufferers
The effects of migraines or migraine-like chronic headaches can be debilitating. For those with true migraines, some relief might be had with behavioral therapy, but sufferers still lose time at work and with their families or hobbies as a result of their recurring headaches. And those who avoid migraine-related foods may not see any relief. These people may not be sufferers of the chemically-triggered form of the headache, and for these sufferers doctors in Britain are exploring the use of a formerly cosmetic procedure to reduce or stop their migraine-like headaches.
The cause of these migraine-like headaches may be pressure on a facial nerve by the corrugator muscle. The corrugator muscle, so named because it corrugates or wrinkles the brow, is sometimes, although not commonly, removed during a brow lift surgery, and cosmetic surgeons noticed that following brow lift surgery, some headache sufferers saw a lower incidence of headaches. This led them to try the procedure intentionally to try and remedy chronic headaches.
The corrugator muscle is only one possible cause of recurrent headaches, so surgeons use Botox to paralyze the muscle temporarily to see if it might be responsible for the headaches. If it seems responsible, it is removed. Only small-scale studies have been performed in the UK so far, but it seems to be effective.
US practitioners of Botox therapy for headaches are dubious of the notion that the corrugator alone is responsible for headaches. Typically, injections are made over a larger area than just that occupied by the corrugator muscle. However, if the procedure continues to be successful, it may be another example of the crossover between cosmetic surgery and general medicine, and we can expect it to move over here.