One of the most beneficial uses of BOTOX\for migraines is that it can serve as an indicator of how effective migraine surgery might be for you. BOTOX stops contracting muscles from irritating triggering nerves. If that gives you relief, you may benefit from surgery to “free up” pressure on those nerves. Using BOTOX may also help identify which nerves could be triggering your migraines, making surgical intervention more targeted.
The number of Botox varies from one area to another which has a direct effect on how much does Botox cost. For example, to remove crow’s feet, it requires at least 5 to 15 units per side while 10 to 30 units for the forehead lines. Therefore, each of the areas has a different volume of Botox necessary to correct the appearance which factors in the overall cost.
Some critics say Botox makes you lose all the personality from your face, leaving you with a significantly less range of motion when you laugh, or get angry or upset. While it’s true that your movement will be restricted, a moderate amount of Botox will still allow you to react and communicate in a lively way. “Botox relaxes the wrinkle-forming facial muscles at the sight of injection, such as crow’s feet, glabella (the ‘furrows’ in between the brows), and frontalis (forehead lines),” Dr. Waibel says. “Botox does not affect other facial muscles that are used for overall facial expressions.”
Side effects from therapeutic use can be much more varied depending on the location of injection and the dose of toxin injected. In general, side effects from therapeutic use can be more serious than those that arise during cosmetic use. These can arise from paralysis of critical muscle groups and can include arrhythmia, heart attack, and in some cases seizures, respiratory arrest, and death. Additionally, side effects which are common in cosmetic use are also common in therapeutic use, including trouble swallowing, muscle weakness, allergic reactions, and flu-like syndromes.
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 (such as one-side paralysis and eye droops), they aren't particularly dangerous and last four to six weeks.
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is administered to one site in the procerus muscle. The procerus injection site is approximately midway between the two corrugator injections. In order to confirm the location of the procerus muscle, the patient is asked to furrow the brow, which will activate the belly of the muscle causing the medial furrowing to occur. Once identified, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected superficially into the belly of the muscle at a 90° angle to ensure the injection is administered into the procerus rather than the frontalis. Injections placed too superiorly may inadvertently lead to penetration of the frontalis muscle.
There is no cure for migraine currently. Don’t expect to walk into a doctor’s office, get a pill and feel better immediately. Having a variety of treatments can help you live a healthier life. Taking walks with my kids seems nearly impossible some days, and others it clears my mind and boosts my adrenaline. I receive both massage and acupuncture treatments for migraine pain and the general aches and pains that come with caring for and taking care of children. Mental health, as well as physical health, should be addressed. Time for rest and recovery needs to be a priority, to keep from overdoing it.
I don’t know what’s harder, being a mom or living with migraine. Having both can be overwhelming. Over the years, as a stay-at-home mom of two and chronic migraine fighter, I have learned to adapt my life and my children’s lives to migraine. I alter my family’s schedule around my children’s naps, meals and moods, while also keeping in mind my migraine attacks, sensitivities, triggers and abilities.
Though there's still more research to be done on Botox for migraines and doctors aren't yet completely sure why the procedure is effective, they have some ideas. Ravitz tells me, "What [Botox] does is paralyze nerve terminals. Essentially, nerve terminals transmit pain, but they also produce pain substances while they’re doing that, and it completely paralyzes that process." She says that it stops the process of pain patterning and it also relaxes the muscles.
This product contains albumin, a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). There is a theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but if that risk actually exists, the risk of transmission would also be considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases, CJD or vCJD have ever been identified for licensed albumin or albumin contained in other licensed products.
In the mid- to late-1990’s dermatologists were the first to report headache relief to migraineurs who were receiving BOTOX injections to reduce facial (forehead) wrinkles. Initially there was significant controversy about whether BOTOX really did help migraine patients. The use of BOTOX for treatment of tension headaches was studied and found to be no more effective than placebo. With migraines, it was more complex. In 2009 the data showed that BOTOX injected in particular areas of the head and neck in patients who met the International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria for chronic migraine provided sufficient benefit to recommend the treatment modality. In 2010, the FDA approved BOTOX for chronic migraine and recommended the protocol of injections and treatment frequency that had been successful in the studies.
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The migraines started later in life, before my lupus diagnosis. While sometimes they’d come out of the blue or I’d wake up with them, other times I’d see them coming. From a neurologist’s suggestion, I learned some of my “triggers” such as weather changes (specifically, drops in barometric pressure and incoming storms), hormonal changes and dairy. This past year I significantly reduced my dairy intake and although that didn’t eliminate the migraines, if I did eat dairy, I was sure to get one. Many of my migraines would also start as tension headaches. My neck is always extremely tight and eventually the constant tightness causes a migraine. Due to this, my old rheumatologist suggested taking a muscle relaxer at the beginning of a headache or before bed to keep my muscles from tensing up overnight and preventing a migraine. It worked sometimes… but definitely not enough.
Duration of response was calculated as the number of days between injection and the date of the first visit at which patients returned to 3 or 4 on the HDSS scale. The median duration of response following the first treatment in BOTOX treated patients with either dose was 201 days. Among those who received a second BOTOX injection, the median duration of response was similar to that observed after the first treatment.
Many times, effects on spasticity are longer lasting. It is not clear if this is due to breaking down patterned movements (many muscles contracting together rather than singly) or from allowing weak muscles to get stronger over time (that were overpowered before by more spastic muscles pulling against them). It is vital to have close follow-up after the injections to figure out the best course of treatment.
30+ year migraine warrior, wife, mother, corporate exec turned health advocate, Paula is Migraine Again Managing Editor and Chief Encouragement Officer. She champions patient's needs as an American Migraine Foundation Board Member, CHAMP Coalition Leader, IHS Patient Advocate and co-author of CaMEO and My Migraine Voice research studies. In addition to hosting the Migraine Again Podcast and producing the Migraine World Summit, Paula is a frequent speaker at industry, health care and public policy events. She's also the Founder and CEO of the World Health Education Foundation, a 501c3. Follow her on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and are being treated for urinary incontinence (symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include pain or burning with urination, frequent urination, or fever); have problems emptying your bladder on your own and are being treated for urinary incontinence; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).