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Botox For Migraines: How Does It Help?

Posted by Nima | October 10, 2022

Botox, which has been responsible for generations of smooth foreheads in Hollywood, has also aided many patients with chronic medical issues. Many patients are finding success with Botox for migraines, which were approved in 2010. Many people today now resort to getting botox for migraines, and it’s been shown to help aid in tension.

But what do you need to know before considering it?

What Type of Headache Responds Best to Botox?

Botox is only FDA-approved for chronic headaches, which are defined as having 15 or more daily migraine attacks. Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld, Director of The Headache Center of Southern California says that “The more frequent the headaches, the better the patient does with Botox”  Botox is not recommended for patients who experience fewer than 15 headache days a month.

What is Botox?

Botox is a neurotoxin that comes from the bacteria that causes botulism. When Botox is purified and used in very small doses, it can help reduce muscle contractions for up to 3 months.

How Does Botox For Migraines Work?

When you get Botox injections, they target the pain fibers that are causing your headaches. The injection sites for Botox are around key nerve endings. By blocking the release of chemicals involved in pain transmission, we can stop signals from firing and going to the brain to tell it that you’re experiencing pain.

Botox only works to prevent migraines if applied before the headaches start. Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld says, “I look to the second and third treatments to maximize effects.”

Patients report feeling progressively better the more treatment cycles they undergo. One cycle of Botox treatments, which last for 10-12 weeks, can reduce the number of headache days by 50%.

Who Uses Botox for Migraines?

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of Botox to relieve chronic migraine in adults 18 years old or older. If it’s used on children or teenagers, it’s known as an “off-label” therapy. This implies that a doctor may prescribe it, but insurance companies might refuse to pay for it.

Finding a Doctor Who Treats Migraine with Botox

Use your insurance’s doctor listing, Yelp, or the American Migraine Foundation’s doctor database if you want to try Botox for migraine headaches. We highly recommend seeing a headache specialist or neurologist that is an expert in this field.

Dr. Laura Banks, neurologist at Natividad Medical Center, has the following suggestions for prospective Botox patients: ask the doctor where they learned to give Botox injections and how often they’ve given them in order to assess their level of experience. Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld further suggests inquiring about how many injection sites the proposed treatment plan entails.

Getting Botox Treatment Paid for by Insurance

The average dosage of 155 units, as recommended by the FDA, costs $300 to $600 per treatment. Botox is covered under most plans- including Medicare and Medicaid- because it is approved for chronic migraines by the FDA. To help with payment, Allergan offers a “Botox Savings Card” which gives patients discounts on fees.

Your insurance company will likely not approve Botox as a treatment for chronic migraines unless you have first 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.

What is Botox Treatment Like?

Your initial Botox appointment should last approximately 20 minutes. The doctor will use a needle that barely feels like anything, and they’ll inject small amounts of Botox into your skin’s shallow muscles. On average, each treatment includes 31 injections across seven key areas of the head and neck.

The most prevalent issue following a Botox injection is usually a sore neck. To ease this, we suggest using an ice pack. You may not see the full effect of Botox for up to six months. In the meantime, you are able to carry on taking your regular medications without having to worry about any potential drug interactions.

Try Botox to reduce your migraines today at NIMA! If you want to learn about other types of injections, read how long does it take for kybella to work.