Can Botox For Migraine Headache Cure Migraines?

From: Headache Adviser
Published: Sun May 09 2010

Botox for migraine headache is one of the newer advances to come along within the last five years. Many people are familiar with Botox and usually the first question people will ask is.."can I get rid of my wrinkles too??" Well, yes and no. Wrinkles in forehead, yes, but those around the eyes and mouth are strictly for the plastic surgeon.

Botox for migraine headache is a form of botulism toxin that is extremely diluted. The injections are given in small amounts, about one tenth of a milliliter, and placed just under the skin, near the nerves that cause pain.

It also causes paralysis of the muscles in the area and is sometimes used for neck spasms known as dystonias, torticollis or "wry neck". Sometimes this is also a part of the problem with migraine, as chronic spasms in the neck will cause headaches.

The injections are placed across the forehead, and just between the eyebrows. They are always placed on both sides of the head, no matter on which side headaches occur. This is to avoid an uneven look to the forehead. Injections are not placed past the midline of the eyebrow as that would paralyze the eyebrow (for a few months) causing an inability to raise them. Additional injections are placed in the temporal muscles on both sides of the temple. If neck pain is a problem, then injections may be placed just under the skin in the neck.

Side effects of Botox injections include irritation at the injection site which may last a few days, and a minute amount of blood at the injection site. If given in the neck, weakness of neck muscles may be noticed but it is usually mild. The success rate with Botox for migraine has been reported to be as high as 75%, but clinically many see about 60-75% success rate.

Injections are given every two to three months depending on the patient and how soon the first set begins to wear off. Many insurance companies are beginning to pay for Botox for migraine and even for chronic daily tension headache. Check with insurance providers first to verify coverage. The cost per session without coverage, is about one thousand dollars and perhaps more depending on provider and area of the country.

So how does one know if they are a candidate for Botox for your headaches? Criteria are to have to have severe headaches that have not responded well to other medications. Also, chronic daily headache or two or three disabling migraines per month would also be a good reason to consider Botox.

Botox does not cure headaches. Like many other medications for headache, it offers another medium for headache management. If successful, the injection may allow a reduction, and perhaps elimination of other headache medications. Once a headache profile is stable, say one or two headaches per month, the Botox can be discontinued.

If interested, contact a good headache center to find out more about Botox for migraine.

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C is a practicing Physician Assistant in neurology and specializes in headache medicine.

Company: Headache Adviser
Contact Name: Mary K. Betz
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