When preventative medication for headaches doesn’t work very well (which it often doesn’t) Botox and nerve decompression surgery may be promoted as alternatives.
They can seem to hold out the promise of an end to pain. When reports in the media have titles like “How cutting out your 'frown muscles' stops migraines - and wrinkles” success seems assured and risks insignificant.
Yet Botox is the trade name for one form of botulinum toxin, a nerve poison produced by bacteria, and the most poisonous substance known. It is over 10,000 times more lethal than the venom of the world’s most poisonous snake – Australia’s own inland taipan.
"A nerve poison produced by bacteria… the most poisonous substance known."
Both cause muscle paralysis by the same mechanism. Death is due to paralysis of the breathing muscles.
Risks with Botox are minimised by only injecting minute amounts into several different places within same muscle, but it can still spread some distance from the injection site. For most people the benefits for headaches are small, and injections must be repeated every 2 – 3 months when nerve terminals regrow.
 D. Hurst (2010). “How cutting out your 'frown muscles' stops migraines – and wrinkles.” MailOnline, 31 August 2010.
This is an excerpt from Stop Headaches Naturally Chapter 9.29 - Botox and Nerve Decompression Surgery - Beware The Hype
It is important to understand that Botox only treats the symptoms and does not address the cause of migraine pain.
Clinical trials that lead to the approval of Botox for migraines requires the use of the PREEMT protocol, where small injections of multiple units are injected over the forehead, sides of the head and back of the head and neck.
"Botox only treats the symptoms"
The cost of this treatment is around $700 and has to be repeated every 3 months. Now that is an expensive way to find temporary pain relief.
If you suffer from migraines and chronic headaches and are considering using Botox, I encourage you to purchase my book called Stop Headaches Naturally. It only costs $27… a drop in ocean compared to the ongoing costs of Botox.
You will learn not only how to find pain relief but more importantly how to treat the cause of your pain and stop your headaches from returning.
Our pre-occupation as a society with the short term quick fix is one of the factors responsible for over-reliance on pain-killers.
When time is money and a “can do” attitude is paramount, we may feel we can’t afford to be ill or to be functioning below our best.
Instead of taking time out to look after our health, when something goes wrong we look to medication to fix the problem.
"We look to medication to fix the problem"
The following quote typifies the “pop a pill and forget it” attitude that is so prevalent:
"It's never a great start to the day when you wake up with a pounding headache. Fortunately, help is often as close as your medicine cabinet. You can pop a couple of aspirin, close your eyes, and, in all likelihood, that throbbing in your head will be soothed within the hour.
You’re in good company in your choice of remedy. Some 80 billion aspirin tablets are taken worldwide, every year, for all types of headaches including the excruciatingly painful form known as a migraine. That's a lot of pharmacological muscle."
If you think this was written by an advertising executive for a pharmaceutical company you would be incorrect.
Disturbingly, it was actually taken from a reputable internet site offering health advice to the general public.
However there is no doubt that pharmaceutical advertising helps foster the idea that medication can provide solutions to all of your health problems.
This is an excerpt from Stop Headaches Naturally Chapter 6.6 - The promise - the lure of the quick fix
Even though there is so much information that can be found on the internet or health related Apps for your smart phone, one should NEVER self-diagnose or self medicate… leave that role for a well educated and qualified doctor.
But I do believe that the best medicine is prevention. For that to occur you need to take more of an active role in prescribing some of the most beneficial and effective medicine for yourself and become your own ‘doctor.’
"The best medicine is prevention"
Here is some ‘medicine’ that you can begin to take:
- Healthy & Varied Diet
- Exercise - cardio, strength & stretch
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Keep hydrated
- Positive attitude
- Manual Therapy
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human body, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Although there have been many medical advances since Edison’s time, the doctor is unfortunately still “giving medicine”.
The traditional approach in Western medicine has always been to diagnose a particular disease or condition from known symptoms and then to treat it with medication, surgery or various procedures.
This focus on diagnosis and treatment worked well for infectious diseases, but is not very useful for multi-factorial chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
At the population level, the emphasis has shifted in favour of understanding the underlying causes of disease, and prevention through improvements to lifestyle.
However this has not really been translated to the individual patient-doctor consultation.
It is not just the doctor’s fault – patient expectations also contribute to this situation. Patients sometimes complain they have not got value for money if they don’t leave clutching a prescription, but just discuss factors like diet, exercise and sleep with their doctor.
Or if the doctor does recommend various lifestyle changes, patients frequently ignore this advice and keep looking for “the magic bullet”.
And when the patient is in pain, many doctors feel helpless if they can’t provide some form of pain relief.
This is an excerpt from Stop Headaches Naturally Chapter 6.8 - The focus of Western medicine is on treatment rather than prevention
Our smartphone obsession is putting Australians at risk of becoming a nation of hunch-backs, experts fear.
Chiropractors and physiotherapists are reporting a marked increase in the number of patients being treated for neck and shoulder complaints due to smartphone use.
Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria forecasts cases of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions will almost double to 8.7 million Australians within 20 years, with health costs estimated to be around $4.8 billion a year.
Australian Chiropractor Association spokesman Dr Michael Black said patients were experiencing headaches, upper back pain, sprains and muscle spasms. “While many people are tablets it appears that their ‘normal’ postural positioning has transformed people to developing rounded shoulders and subsequent forward head carriage leading to upper neck and upper back pain, resulting,” in headaches or migraines.”
Herald Sun | Richard Noone
Are suffering with headaches, back pain and spasms?
Do you need some help improving your posture?
Then have a look at just a few sections of Chapter 8 in the book Stop Headaches Naturally
- 8.2 What does having good spinal posture mean?
- 8.4 The wall test to assess and improve spinal posture
- 8.6 Modern work and leisure sets us up for bad posture
- 8.7 Mobile electronic devices and forward head posture
- 8.9 Set up your computer to minimize postural stress
- 8.18 Diaphragmatic breathing & headache prevention
- 8.19 Learn how to breathe using your diaphragm
RETRAIN CORE MUSCLES
- 8.20 Spinal posture and the core postural muscles
DO SPECIFIC EXERCISES
- 8.21 Why exercises are important for headache prevention
- 8.23 Two part exercise for correcting forward head posture
Pablo Tymoszuk is a soft tissue therapist specialising in remedial, myofascial and dry needling techniques. He also acts as an ergonomic specialist and wellness consultant which has motivated him to co-author the eBook Stop Headaches Naturally.
Together with Dr Margaret Scarlett they present a range of strategies for stopping headaches and migraines without drugs. All strategies are organized in a sy