Physicians discovered the link between BOTOX® Cosmetic and headaches in1992, when patients reported experiencing fewer headaches following injections intended to reduce facial lines and wrinkles. The finding was confirmed by several clinical trials that followed— BOTOX® Cosmetic does provide relief to headache sufferers. Furthermore, it was found that BOTOX® treatments can reduce migraine headache pain. Learn more about how BOTOX® injections can treat head pain and find out if you are an ideal candidate for BOTOX® headache treatment.
How does BOTOX® Cosmetic Treat Headaches?
It is not clear exactly how BOTOX® treatments help headaches. When used for reducing wrinkles or treating certain medical conditions, BOTOX® Cosmetic works by blocking nerve impulses responsible for controlling muscles, thereby relaxing the treated area and preventing muscle contraction that can wrinkle the skin or induce spasm. However, with migraine headaches, there is often no muscle component. Scientists speculate that BOTOX® Cosmetic works by blocking a specific protein that carries the pain message to the brain.
Candidates for BOTOX® Head Pain Treatment
The ideal candidates for BOTOX ® treatment of head pain are realistic in their expectations. Though studies have shown that treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic is successful at reducing or eliminating headache pain for many patients, results are not typical for all patients. Most individuals who opt for treatment of headaches with BOTOX® Cosmetic are often chronic sufferers whose lives have begun to be negatively impacted by the pain. Candidates should also be knowledgeable about the procedure, and in good physical and psychological health. BOTOX® treatment for head pain is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
For some, severe headaches can be triggered by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. In these cases, BOTOX ® Cosmetic can alternatively be used to treat the associated jaw tension caused by the disorder. Read more about BOTOX ® Cosmetic and jaw tension.
Benefits and Risks of BOTOX® Treatment for Headaches
During BOTOX® treatment for headaches, a patient will receive 10 to 25 injections in the head, neck, and shoulders. The injections feel similar to pin pricks or bug bites. The treatment takes about half an hour, and daily activities can be resumed immediately.
The most welcome benefit of having BOTOX® treatments for headaches is relief from pain. An additional benefit is that BOTOX® Cosmetic has fewer side effects associated with its use than other traditional headache medications. The side effects that do sometimes occur include bleeding or bruising around the injection site, a temporary drooping of the muscle, slight neck muscle weakness, and flu-like symptoms. In some cases, BOTOX® treatments can be less expensive than other headache treatments.
It may take several weeks following a BOTOX® injection for headache relief to be noticeable. The effects of BOTOX® are not permanent. For that reason, continued headache relief is achieved only by receiving additional injections every few months. Without these "boosters," it is likely that the headache symptoms will return.
Insurance and BOTOX® Headache Treatment
Unfortunately, many private insurers do not provide coverage for BOTOX ® treatments for headaches and migraine headache pain. However, coverage may be available on a case-by-case basis. Currently, in four states – Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia – Medicare will pay for BOTOX® treatment for head pain, including migraine headaches. Many times, private insurance companies will follow Medicare's lead in providing coverage for treatments.
DocShop Can Help You Find a BOTOX® Provider
The DocShop directory can help you locate a physician near you who provides BOTOX ® treatments for headaches. Contact a cosmetic dermatologist in your area who is experienced in the use of BOTOX® Cosmetic for the treatment of migraine headache or severe head pain.