Migraines are a debilitating condition for many. They cause moderate to severe headaches that can last from 2 hours to 72 hours. Though some are able to get relief through traditional medical treatments, many don’t find them effective.
Patients who suffer through 4 or more hours of migraines per day for 15 days out of every month may be candidates for the use of Botox. This application of Botox may be covered by insurance. The discovery that Botox could help migraines was serendipitous. Doctors like myself were treating women with Botox for cosmetic applications, and many came back and said, “Doctor not only did your Botox treatment help my frown lines, but I haven’t had a migraine for 4 months, and I used to get them almost every week.”
Upon receiving this feedback, Allergan — the maker of Botox — began to study this new use for their product. They released their findings on the best way to use Botox to treat migraines, and their suggested protocol was different from what we had previously found to be somewhat effective. Allergan’s research team found that treating the frown muscles and forehead muscles in a V pattern, as well as treating the temples, the back of the head, neck and shoulders, was most effective for reducing migraines.
One problem with the new migraine protocol was its aesthetic: though the new approach helped stop migraines, it also caused an irregular motion of the forehead, and sometimes a collapse of the central eyebrow that created facial disharmony. Additionally, when Allergan made the headache application public knowledge, it brought new practitioners to the Botox-treating physician pool, and many of these practitioners were neurologists who had no previous experience with Botox. Many patients who’ve had the Botox treatment for migraines performed by neurologists have found themselves left with an aesthetically-awkward appearance. I’ve found that by injecting the muscles between the brows rather than the forehead, I’ve achieved both a good resolution of migraines and a natural appearance as well. I’ve also treated the temples for trigger points, and the neck and shoulders as well, without causing irregular aesthetic results.
While it is possible to go to a neurologist to have Botox for migraines and have insurance cover the treatments, patients who are looking for both relief from their migraines and a nice cosmetic outcome should consider covering the treatment themselves. A cosmetic Botox expert who also knows how to treat migraines is most likely to give you the results that you’re looking for.