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Headache and Migraine Relief

We know that headaches can get in the way of life, and we strive to make life better for patients by offering multiple treatment options. Botox injections and occipital nerve blocks have been shown to help relieve chronic migraines and headaches. When used in children, these medications may not be covered by insurance. That is why Child Neurology Consultants of Austin offers these treatments at a discounted rate.

Botox for Migraines

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 approved the use of Botox injections to treat chronic migraines.

What is Botox?

Botox is a drug that is made from a toxin produced by the bacteria that causes botulism. When the toxin is purified and injected around pain-producing tissues, it blocks chemicals that are involved with pain signaling. This results in reduced pain activation in the brain, so the patient feels relief.

Who responds best to Botox injections?

Botox is approved in adults with chronic migraines. Migraine headaches are considered chronic when a person has 15 or more headache days per month. We use the same criteria in children to determine which patients may benefit from Botox injections.

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What is treatment like?

The first Botox treatment may take about 20 to 30 minutes. The doctor uses a small needle to inject small amounts of medicine into the muscles of the head and neck. A single treatment session usually includes 31 injections. Botox injection sessions are typically done every 10 to 12 weeks, and benefits may wear off after around three months.

Patients should continue taking their regular medications, as it can take up to six months to achieve the maximum benefit from these injections. The most common side effects include sore neck and headache. Your pediatric neurologist will discuss side effects with you and your child in more detail.

Occipital Nerve Block

Many patients with chronic headaches describe the pain as starting from the neck or the back of the head. This pain can extend to the top of the head and to certain parts of the face (e.g. forehead, temple, eye). Nerves at the base of the skull may serve as a “highway” where pain travels and causes headaches. An occipital nerve block helps to “block the highway” and stop the flow of pain, thereby resulting in headache relief.

What is an occipital nerve block?

An occipital nerve block is an injection that is used to block a pain signal along a nerve. The solution is usually a combination of a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and a local anesthetic.

Who responds best to occipital nerve blocks?

Patients with pain at the back of their head or tenderness over the occipital nerves at the back of the head tend to respond best to this type of injection treatment.

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What is treatment like?

During a nerve block treatment, your doctor will use a small needle to inject a pain-relieving solution into the area around the nerves at the base of the skull. The needle insertion is not painful, but there may be temporary discomfort when the solution is injected. Pain relief may occur within 15 minutes of the injection, and the relief can last for several days or even months. Common side effects include soreness at the injection site or temporary numbness around the nerves.

If you have additional questions about Botox injections and occipital nerve blocks, contact our Child Neurology Consultants of Austin team at (512) 494-4000. You can also submit an online appointment request.