Botox for Migraines

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Botox for Migraines

Post  4everdoll on Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:19 pm

Hi: I haven't posted on this page for a long time, so I don't know if anyone has posted about using Botox for the migraines. I am desperate to find some relief from these awful horrible migraines. I am never without pain...wake up in pain, go to sleep in pain. I don't get a lot of relief from Demerol injections either. So, I am willing to try botox injections. However, I don't know the first thing about how find a doctor that does the botox injections. I have literally tried all meds, acupuncture, diet changes, etc. over the past 44 years of suffering with these headaches, and I feel botox is my last shot at trying to get some relief. If there is someone in this discussion group that has tried botox, would you be kind enough to let me know what the first step is in finding a doctor that would do these for me. I don't know if I am to start with a neurologist, or what type of doctor for the injections. I would appreciate any and all comments, good or bad, with regards to botox injections, and am hoping some good advice will come to me in this discussion group. Thank you!

4everdoll

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Re: Botox for Migraines

Post  Platypus on Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:00 pm

Find a neurologist who is a headache specialist, preferably the top dog in your area. To find out who that is you could check yelp in your area, google of course. Travel if you have to -- a good neuro is worth driving 2 hours or more to see every few months. It's not about Botox -- that may or may not be the solution for you, it's about working diligently w/ a top specialist to find a preventative regime to get your headaches under control. Even though you've had headaches for 44 years and think you've tried everything -- you haven't. The top guys who are on top of the latest research know about stuff that Joe Neurologist does not. Any neuro will treat a patient for migraines. But if they aren't a headache specialist, you probably know more about your disease than they do. If you had a particular type of cancer, wouldn't you want your oncologist and surgeon to be specialists in that type of cancer?

As for Botox, it is definitely worth a try, and yes, a neuro can administer it. Does it help a majority of migraineuers? No. However, it does work for a lot of people who get no relief from anything else. It's absolutely one of the heavy-hitters and there are a good many people who say "Botox gave me my life back." So you should try it, but don't put all your faith in Botox, it's just one more stop on your path. The most important thing for you to do is find a headache specialist to work with that you have confidence in.


Last edited by Platypus on Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Botox for Migraines

Post  Pinkballerina on Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:58 pm

I have had Botox injections done for my migraines 4 times in the past year. During my first round and my third round I actually did have both reduction in the days per month I was having migraine as well as a reduction in the level of pain. My most successful time was the first time, but that doc only did it once and is no longer in practice and I am now stuck with the "hit it miss" neuro as I like to call him. Sometimes he places the Botox correctly and sometimes he doesn't. The first doc did a better job using less Botox on me as he took the time to really map out which muscles he felt were causing MY headaches and didn't inject just in the places the manufacturer recommends. For me, this meant receiving a lot of shots in my shoulders and even down the sides of my neck. My new neuro simply will not deviate from the Botox injection guidelines and will not personalize the injection sites for me. Luckily, he referred me to a headache clinic. Even though it is out of state and a 3 hour drive, I plan to go there for my next round of Botox because they are headache specialists and they do these injections on a daily basis. I am one of a literal handful of patients at my current doc's practice who receive Botox.

One scary thing about Botox is that any willing doctor can administer it. Botox is a neurotoxin that temporarily paralyzes the muscle into which it is injected, so you want to make sure you have a doc who is either a neurologist or preferably a neurologist/headache specialist handle your case. In my area of the country, you can go to some family practice docs and get Botox injections for cosmetic reasons. (Of course dermatologists inject Botox cosmetically...they were actually the first to report on the migraine reduction "side effect,")

If you have never tried Botox, I would say absolutely go for it if your insurance will cover it. It is a too pricey and a hit or miss treatment to pay for out of pocket in my personal opinion. But when it works, it is like heaven! I hope this helps.

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Re: Botox for Migraines

Post  tortoisegirl on Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:27 pm

Good post. Yes I agree you want a doctor who is experienced in Botox for migraine/headache, and also gets frequent practice.

Insurance is pretty much required to cover Botox injections if your doctor diagnoses chronic migraine, for which you'd have to have >15 migraine days a month, more than four hours a day, not responding to at least a few other preventative treatments, as it is FDA approved for that. For other conditions yes they can say its experimental and not cover it. Many doctors are willing to write chronic migraine if you meet the number of headache days, even if they are not all migraine days. Best wishes.

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