Nearly everyone has experienced a headache at some point in their life. Headaches are often short lived and easily managed. However, migraines, as opposed, to headaches, can last for more than four hours and are often chronic and debilitating. Symptoms may begin with a throbbing pain on one side of the head and typically include other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Diagnosis of migraine headaches is determined based on a clinical evaluation, symptoms, and, of course, by ruling out other conditions. Initial treatment may include a combination of self- care remedies, lifestyle adjustments, over-the-counter medication, prescription migraine medications and alternative care such as meditation or acupuncture.
When self-care options fail to bring relief, Botox® is FDA-approved to help migraine sufferers. However, its clinical use is only approved for chronic migraines, which means a headache on 15 or more days each month of which eight are migraine. When we inject a small amount of Botox® in the muscles of the face, head and neck, it can significantly reduce migraines and improve quality of life.
We are finding that treatment takes some time to work. It may take 6-9 months to see the maximum benefits from Botox®. Treatments are typically administered every three months and may involve different areas of the head, depending on results.
Most insurance companies require patients to try other treatments first. If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic migraines that are not responding to traditional therapies, Botox® injections may be the next treatment option. Talk to your primary care provider to determine if you may be eligible. If you are considering injection therapy, it is important to find a professional who is trained to use Botox® for chronic migraine headaches rather than for cosmetic purposes. Physician experience matters.
Our Neuroscience and Rehab team is trained in using Botox® for pain relief. You can reach our office, Portneuf Neuroscience and Rehab, at 208-239-2722.
Austin C. Myers, MD is board eligible in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He graduated from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica and completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency training at East Carolina University / Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC.