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Why Does Botox Help With Migraines

Getting Botox Is Not A Moral Failing

How Botox treatment for migraines has changed lives

Because of my previously held opinions about Botox, a part of me felt that to try it would mean selling out on my principles. Plus, as a deeply religious person, Ive always subscribed to the belief that vanity is a sin.

But Ive come to believe that the desire to look attractive is natural and good. If I could prevent myself from frowning on my own power, I would do so! It doesnt bother me to use a little medical help to get there.

If theres one thing everyone seems to fear about Botox, its looking like an expressionless robot. Isnt it freaky not to be able to move certain parts of your face?

In my experience, no.

The inability to knit my brows together when my husband makes a snarky comment or my kids grind couscous into the carpet has actually been a kind of relief.

The faces we make carry emotional weight. Youve probably heard that simply smiling more can make you feel happier and it turns out that not frowning can have the same effect.

A 2009

Study: For People With Episodic Migraine We Remain Uncertain Whether Or Not Is Effective

Researchers at the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham wrote in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews:

  • In chronic migraine, botulinum toxin type A may reduce the number of migraine days per month by 2 days compared with placebo treatment. Non-serious adverse events were probably experienced by 60/100 participants in the treated group compared with 47/100 in the placebo group. For people with episodic migraine, we remain uncertain whether or not this treatment is effective because the quality of this limited evidence is very low.

Getting Botox Treatment Paid For By Insurance

In general, the FDA-recommended dosage of 155 units costs between $300 to $600 for each treatment. Because Botox is FDA approved for chronic migraine, its covered by most plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Allergan offers a Botox Savings Card, which offers patients reduced fees.

Please note that before your insurance company will approve Botox as a treatment for your chronic migraine, you typically must have tried and failed to respond to two other preventative treatments. These might include anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, or blood pressure medications that are typically used to prevent migraine.

Read Also: Migraine Healthline

Some Clinicians Will Prescribe Botox For High

“I think clinical experience trumps any meta-analysis,” said Dr. Robert Cowan. “High-frequency episodic patients who failed multiple preventive therapies were not specifically studied in the PREEMPT trial, but my clinical experience has shown Botox to be equally effective for HFEM and Chronic Migraine.”

What about tension headaches? Dr. Cowan warns, “However, I strongly doubt Botox would be effective or appropriate for episodic tension-type headache.”

Does Botox Relieve Migraine Pain

How Does Botox Work For Migraines?

Studies have shown Botox helped those who suffered from chronic migraine headaches to have more pain-free days each month, and they were able to miss fewer days at work.

For those who suffer from chronic migraines, that is a small miracle!

A regular course of Botox injections works as a preventative treatment, stopping headaches before they start!

When it comes to effectiveness, the study found that the more frequent the headaches, the better the result.

We recommend Botox for patients who:

  • Have a history of migraine headaches
  • Have tension-type headaches for 15 or more days a month, and eight of these are migraines

Botox is not recommended for patients who:

  • Experience headaches less than 15 days a month
  • Suffer from another type of headache, such as cluster headaches

Dr. Khayat and Dr. Becerra have used Botox to treat pain in their patients effectively.

I received trigger point injections. The results were amazing! After suffering for years, I finally had relief from my pain. The results from the injections were better than I could have ever hoped for. MaryBeth K.

Ok, so it works.

But what about the side effects?

Recommended Reading: Natural Remedies For Vestibular Migraines

Treating Migraines With Botox

According to the Polish Headache Association and the International Headache Association, Botox is considered the most effective treatment for chronic migraine. This treatment is much more effective than previous prophylactic drugs. It works in 80 percent of patients.

The indication for treatment with botulinum toxin are headaches occurring at least 15 days or more per month for a period of at least 3 months, with migraine pain occurring for at least 8 days.

Botulinum Toxin Injectables For Migraines

    Wrinkle-reducing treatments that use botulinum toxin injectables may also be used to treat chronic migraines. These treatments, known as neuromodulating drugs , were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 for migraine treatment.

    Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Sashank Reddy, M.D., Ph.D., explains how these drugs are a powerful treatment option for patients with chronic migraines.

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    What Is Botox Is It Safe

    Botox is created from botulinum toxin. While the idea of being injected with a toxin may sound scary, Botox actually contains such a miniscule amount of toxin that there is little chance of dangerous side effects. Since 2010, the FDA has recognized Botox as a safe treatment for migraines when administered by a licensed medical professional.

    What Can You Expect During A Botox Migraine Treatment

    Using Botox to Treat Migraines After YEARS of Pain! | AAFE

    Treatment is pretty quick and takes about 15 minutes, Dr. Natbony explains. Your doctor uses a very small needle to inject Botox into 31 injection sites over your forehead, temples and the back of your head, neck and shoulders. Injections feel like little pinpricks, and there may be a brief burning sensation at the injection sites. Overall, the process is not especially painful. Most patients are able to return to their routine daily activities immediately.

    Read Also: Migraine Mayo Clinic

    Whats The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine

    Botox is an approved treatment for those who struggle with headaches for more than 15 days per month and experience migraines for at least 8 of those days. But whats the difference between a headache and a migraine?

    Headaches can cause pain in different parts of the head according to their cause.

    • Some headaches may be caused by physical or psychological stress
    • Others are caused by sinus pressure
    • Cluster headaches refer to particularly intense headaches that tend to happen around the same time each day

    On the other hand, migraines often involve other symptoms aside from head pain. They may include dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, as well as severe fatigue . Migraines may occur in different phases, which may involve symptoms and signs like blurred vision, mood disturbances, and trouble with speech.

    How Does Botox For Migraines Work

    When a person is experiencing severe pain associated with migraine, a doctor may recommend different interventions based on family history and severity. Most of these are analgesic in some way, or relieve associated secondary symptoms such as severe nausea.

    Aspirin and ibuprofen are some of the most commonly prescribed over-the-counter pain meds for migraines, and paracetamol can be effective for mild attacks. Overreliance on these medications can lead to stomach and liver problems, however, which is why a more long-term treatment plan is crucial.

    Other medications for immediate pain relief include CGRP antagonists, vasoconstrictors like triptans and newer drugs, and even opioid medication.

    However, preventative medicine is just as important to treating a migraine problem, especially in chronic cases. This is where Botox for migraines come into play.

    Botox is injected into the muscles in the neck and head in multiple different places, typically once every 12 weeks. The mechanism by which it helps relieve pain involves blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps contract muscles and relay pain signals.

    Read Also: Is Naproxen Good For Migraines

    How Well Does Botox Work For Migraines

    Botox is a preventive medication that helps to stop a migraine headache before it starts. In studies, Botox was shown to prevent on average 8 to 9 headache days a month .

    Botox is approved to be used in adults to prevent chronic migraine headaches that occur on 15 or more days per month and that last for at least 4 hours. At least 8 of the headache days must be associated with migraine.

    Because Botox is an injection you receive every 12 weeks, you wont have to remember to take a daily pill for migraine prevention. You can combine Botox with oral medications for acute migraine treatment to help reduce pain once a headache has already begun, if approved by your doctor.

    In studies, researchers found the most common side effect when Botox was used for migraine prevention was neck pain in 9% of patients . Other side effects included headache, droopy eyelid , and muscle stiffness or weakness.

    Clinical Evidence For Botox For Chronic Migraine

    Why Botox Can Help Prevent Migraines

    The FDA’s decision to approve Botox for Chronic Migraine was based on the existing evidence, namely two clinical trials called PREEMPT. The two PREEMPT trials included only patients with Chronic Migraine.

    These two pivotal, placebo-controlled trials showed that Botox was associated with two fewer headache days a month for people with Chronic Migraine and chronic daily headache.

    For episodic Migraine or tension-type headache, on the other hand, the clinical proof just isn’t there. A recent meta-analysis of 17 studies looked at data from nearly 3650 patients, of whom 1550 had Chronic Migraine and the remaining had episodic Migraine.

    Also Check: Piercing That Relieves Migraines

    Answer: Bad Headache From Botox

    Hello,I am sorry about your bad experience with Botox.This is very uncommon but it rarely can happen.The good news is that it is self limiting and an usually only lasts for a few hours to a few days…By placing the injection ion superficially along the frontal is muscle of th forehead and avoiding touching the needle to the covering of the frontal bone which can cause headache. You can use anti-inflammatory medication, pain medications and cold compress which should help a great deal.A common mistake by many providers is to inject the botox in large doses around the eyebrow which can cause the eyebrow to come down. Given your description, it might be caused by some muscles that were keeping your eyes open. For example, if you are using the frontalis muscle of the forehead to keep your eyes open. That can put pressure on some of the nerves of the forehead and cause headaches. The good news is that it will stop soon.Hope this was helpful.Regards Dr Sajjadian

    Contraindications For Botox Migraine Treatment

    Botulinum toxin should not be administered to patients who:

  • are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • are allergic to the toxin complex or any of the other ingredients
  • An integral part of qualifying for treatment and assessing improvement is to keep a migraine log to monitor the severity, duration and frequency of headaches and migraines.

    The qualifying visit lasts 30 minutes. After qualifying for the botulinum toxin treatment, the patient may immediately decide to undergo the procedure.

    Also Check: Do Migraines Cause Fever

    Answer: Botox Can Definitely Cause Headaches But In Most Cases They Are Mild And Short Acting

    Thank you for your question! Botox can definitely cause headaches but in most cases they are mild and short acting. This side effect should resolve within the next few weeks. Headaches can happen after Botox. It is not uncommon for some people to experience a headache for up to a week after a Botox. Best of luck!

    What Are Your Options If Botox Isnt Right For You

    Botox For Migraines

    There is now another class of medication thats FDA-approved for the preventative treatment of chronic migraine CGRP Monoclonal Antibodies, says Dr. Natbony. It includes the monthly injectables Aimovig, Emgality and Ajovy, and a quarterly IV infusion .

    You can also try alternative therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback and meditation.

    The bottom line: Everyone is different, so working with your doctor to find the best treatment or combination of treatments is essential. Heres to more migraine-free days!

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    Finding A Doctor Who Treats Migraine With Botox

    If you want to try Botox for migraine, you should look for a headache specialist or neurologist. We recommend using your insurances doctor listing, Yelp, or the American Migraine Foundations doctor database.

    Dr. Laura Banks, neurologist at Natividad Medical Center, suggests asking prospective doctors where they learned to give Botox, and how many times theyve given it. Youre looking for a lot of experience, she says. Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld suggests asking doctors how many injections they will give, and where they will give them.

    How Well Botox Works

    Two clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Botox injections for preventing headaches in adults with chronic migraine.

    These studies looked at adults with chronic migraine. The participants received injections of Botox or a placebo . They received injections in two sets, which were given 3 months apart.

    Researchers compared the number of headache days that people had at the start of the study with how many they had after 6 months of treatment. The results showed that people who received Botox averaged fewer headache days than people who received a placebo.

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    What Are The Potential Side Effects

    I asked this question as Ravitz was putting the first needles in my face, which was probably a mistake as I get anxious easily. However, she assured me that the side effects of Botox typically don’t happen at the doses prescribed for migraines, and even if the scary-sounding side effects you read about online do occur , they aren’t particularly dangerous and last four to six weeks.

    “Most commonly, people have pain because youâre dealing with a bunch of shots, and sometimes you can get a headache from the procedure,” Ravitz tells Allure. “You may have heard about eye droops, but you usually donât see that. It can happen, but we try to keep it very symmetric so that it doesnât happen at all.”

    Personally, I typically experience a headache after the procedure, but I attribute that mostly to tension and anxiety that comes from anticipating pain. It usually goes away before the next morning, and that’s the only notable side effect I’ve experienced in the five rounds of Botox I’ve had so far.

    I Have A Question About Botox Injections For Migraine

    How Long Does It Take For Botox To Work For Tmj / Botox ...

    What is a chronic migraine?

    A diagnosis of chronic migraine usually means that you get headaches on 15 or more days every month for at least three months and eight of those 15 days have migraine symptoms, including severe pain.

    If you suffer from chronic migraines, youll know that theyre more than just a headache. The pain of migraine can be severe, and you may notice that youre excessively sensitive to light, loud sounds or smells and may feel nauseous or vomit during an attack. Frequent migraines can have a real effect on your life and what you can do.

    When you suffer from unpredictable bouts of migraine, you probably feel youre totally alone. But youre not. Its estimated that about 1-2% of people worldwide suffer from chronic migraine.

    What is botulinum toxin type A or Botox®?

    Botulinum toxin type A, also known as Botox®, is a natural protein thats made by a certain kind of bacteria. The protein is removed from the bacteria and then specially prepared before use. This protein is the active ingredient: in other words, its the part of the medicine that does the work, and it can be helpful in medical conditions such as chronic migraine.

    How does Botox® help migraines?

    This protein is the active ingredient the part of the medicine that does the work and its thought that Botox® helps migraines by blocking the chemicals that carry pain signals before they reach the nerve endings. This indirectly blocks the development of a migraine.

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    The Risk Of Side Effects Is Low

    “Botox injections can occasionally trigger a headache, muscle weakness and neck pain, but this is rare,”Kerry Knievel, DO, director of the Jan & Tom Lewis Migraine Treatment Program at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, tells Health. “Eyelid and eyebrow asymmetry and droop can happen, but to prevent this we recommend that patients refrain from rubbing their foreheads or wearing a hat for 24 hours after their injections to prevent the Botox from spreading from the area we intend for it to be.”

    In fact, Botox’s limited side effects are part of its appeal. “It’s not addicting. You don’t have to take a pill every day. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work for a significant amount of people. That’s why Botox is amazing,” says Dr. Bashir.

    Who Had The Idea Of Trying Botox To Treat Migraine

    The use of Botox for migraine came from random observations of improvement of migraine in women receiving Botox for cosmetic purposes in the 80s. Chronic migraine is common in women in their 40-50s. The benefit was reported to the company, and clinical trials were designed to see if Botox could really treat migraine.

    Read Also: Naproxen And Migraines

    Why Might I Need Botulinum Toxin Injections For Migraine Treatment

    Botulinum toxin treatments have been proved effective in clinical trials, and are one way to treat chronic migraines. Other medications, and lifestyle changes, might be recommended. If your doctor determines that you have chronic migraines, you might be a candidate for this treatment.

    Sashank Reddy says, Botulinum toxin injectables are part of a comprehensive suite of options that neurologists and headache specialists have for treatment of chronic migraines. While no single option is best for all cases, an approach that includes several different treatments can often reduce headache frequency and severity.

    Qualification For Botox Migraine Treatment

    What to expect: BOTOX® treatment for chronic migraines

    The patient must first be assessed by a neurologist to qualify for the treatment. During such visit, the neurologist will take the patients medical history and conduct a physical examination, as well as determine the frequency, type and location of headaches.

    Another important part of the assessment is to exclude any contraindications for botulinum toxin therapy.

    Read Also: How Much Ibuprofen Can I Take For Migraine


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