Botox For Headaches: Will It Help Your Chronic Migraines?
It’s common to hear about receiving Botox treatments to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, but have you heard of using Botox to treat migraines? Since 2010, Botox has been approved to combat chronic migraines, with patients reporting overwhelming success.
What Are Chronic Migraines?
For the modern man, migraines have become such a profound part of daily life, that this past year, in 2019, the official focus of World Brain Day was actually on migraines specifically. They sought to raise awareness for the disease around the globe. Though 1 in 7 people suffer from migraines, the disease is under-diagnosed, under-studied, and under-treated.
Though it might be unpleasant to have migraines, chronic migraines is a specific diagnosis. It’s important to be clinically diagnosed by your primary physician prior to seeing a plastic surgeon if you intend to have your insurance cover any portion of the Botox treatments.
So what exactly are chronic migraines and what causes them? Adult patients are considered to have chronic migraines if they experience upwards of 15 plus headaches per month, with at least 8 being migraines specifically, meaning that they last four or more hours each.
The more headaches per month, the more successful the Botox treatment is, hence its approval to treat chronic migraines alone. Patients with fewer than 15 headaches per month should seek another form of preventative treatment instead.
Chronic Versus Episodic Migraines
If you experience fourteen or fewer migraines each month, you more than likely do not have chronic migraines, but are experiencing episodic migraines instead, for which Botox is not an approved treatment.
If you want to confirm whether you fall into the chronic or episodic category, you must speak with your doctor to evaluate the severity, length, scale of pain, and frequency of the headaches to determine whether they are migraines, and more importantly chronic migraines
Fighting Back Against Migraines With Botox
What Is Botox Made Of?
Composed of botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin created by the bacteria which causes botulism. The botulinum toxin is purified, utilized in tiny doses, and effectively minimizes muscle contractions for up to three months.
It has been shown that Botox prevents an average of 8 or 9 of the potential migraines that patients with chronic migraines have per month, resulting in an over 50% reduction rate.
Is Botox Often Used To Prevent Migraines?
Over 3 million Botox treatments were performed in the past 9 years, more than 500,000 patients are fighting back against their chronic migraines through the use of Botox.
How Do Botox Treatments Work: Choosing A Preventative Treatment
Injected into the fibers that cause migraines, Botox enters into the nerve endings surrounding the injection sites and prevents the release of the chemicals which cause the transmission of the pain to the brain, blocking the sensation of pain from being felt.
Though the Botox treatments are effective, they are not instantaneous, requiring two or three treatments to be fully effective. Each treatment lasts for roughly 10-12 weeks after the initial treatment, with patients seeing better results with every treatment they receive.
Recommended by experts and medical doctors alike as a successful preventative treatment, Botox is currently the #1 prescribed, branded treatment against chronic migraines. Rather than addressing the pain once the patient is already experiencing crippling pain and side-effects, the Botox treatments ensure that over 50% of the potential migraines never even begin.
Understanding The Botox Treatment: What Happens?
Your first Botox treatment will take around 20 minutes as the plastic surgeon injects a tiny needle, like a pinprick, into your skin. A small amount of Botox is injected into the shallow muscles around the head and neck, with the typical treatment requiring 31 injections into 7 key areas.
It is normal to feel sore following a Botox treatment for migraines, but an ice pack is likely satisfactory to reduce the discomfort. There is no harm in continuing to take your typical migraine medication following your treatment, both the day of your treatment and in the months ahead. It is common for the Botox treatments to take upwards of six months, and one or two follow-up treatments, to fully kick in and achieve the 50% reduction rate. However, for those who suffer from chronic migraines, this is an invaluable benefit.
Does Insurance Cover Botox For Migraines?
There’s a good chance the answer is yes! Though every insurance plan is unique, with maximum savings limits and restrictions that likely apply, Dr. Vinyard’s office will help you file a claim to determine what precisely your plan will cover and qualify you for. Note that patients on Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare programs are likely unable to take advantage of Botox for migraines.
For children, Botox is deemed an ‘off-label’ treatment meaning that while it’s possible for a doctor to prescribe it, it’s likely that insurance won’t cover it.
NOTE: Dr. Vinyard and the Vinyard Institute of Plastic Surgery does not service Botox for insurance needs like migraines; however, when administering Botox, the VIPS medical team does often hear from cosmetic patients who suffer from minor to severe headaches feel relief after a Botox injection session.
Choosing The Best Possible Surgeon For Your Botox Injections
It’s critical that you search for a plastic surgeon or specialist who is certified and credible, specifically a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Botox injections should never be received from a Botox bar or uncertified physician, as they are unsafe and lack the ability to care for you if something goes wrong during your treatment.
If you are searching for the best Botox specialist in the Port St. Lucie area, Dr. Vinyard and the Vinyard Institute of Plastic Surgery should be your very first call. Contact us to get started today!
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