We’ve all heard of Botox treatments for wrinkles, but what most people don’t know is that Botox is very effective for migraines, although the results seem to be limited to migraines rather than tension headaches, episodic migraines, and cluster headaches. Just how effective is Botox for migraines?
*A study was done with 1384 patients that were getting on average 20 days of a headache each month, most of which were moderate or severe. They were injected with the same amount in the same places on seven specific areas of the head and neck, every 12 weeks over 56 weeks. The total amount of Botox administered to migraine sufferers was between 155-195 units. After 12 months, 70% of those treated had 50% the number of headaches that they had originally.
If you have ever had to deal with the debilitating effects of migraines you would know that getting only half the amount of headaches you normally would, is a like miracle. According to the World Health Organization, living with daily migraines can be more disabling than blindness, paraplegia or rheumatoid arthritis. Many of our patients have gotten even better results with fewer migraine recurrences with Botox therapeutic treatments.
How does it work?
Botox interrupts signals to nerves that cause muscle contractions that can trigger the erratic nerve firing and blood vessel spasms of migraine headaches. Botox also reduces pain in a number of disease states, including cervical dystonia, neuropathic pain, lower back pain, spasticity, myofascial pain, bladder pain and is effective for treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
How often do you have to have it injected?
The results of Botox are noticeable within 7 days; they peak at about 6 weeks and fade off in about 3 months. So treatments are 3-4 months apart, very comfortable and take about 15 minutes. You will know when it’s time to come back!
What about the costs?
Most extended health care plans will cover a high percentage of the costs to make a call to your carrier to see if you are covered. Some healthcare companies require that you try at least two medications without migraine improvement before they will cover you, so you will need to see what steps may be necessary for you to take. Usually, you will only be personally billed for injection costs which will run about $350.
How safe is it?
The FDA approved Botox to treat people with migraines that last 4 or more hours for at least 15 days a month. Botox is not poisonous to the body when used in small doses. Many of the other medical uses for Botox require much more than the standard 200 units to treat migraines. There have been some instances of the Botox drifting after injection, causing a temporary brow or eye droop. Proper placement is important which is why you want to be sure that you are in the care of an experienced injecting doctor or nurse.
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