Dr. Nikesh Seth may surprise patients suffering from migraines when he recommends Botox injections. What is a cosmetic treatment doing at Integrated Pain Consultants? You’ve probably heard of Botox for treating unwanted lines and wrinkles, and maybe you’ve even dabbled in it yourself. However, Botox is actually a multi-talented solution for a number of ailments beyond cosmetic. It can help reduce or stop unwanted sweating and it’s a solution for migraines.
Currently, Botox is FDA-approved only for chronic migraines. Migraines that last for 15+ days may be effectively treated with Botox. According to the director of The Headache Center in Southern California, Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld, “The more frequent the headaches, the better the patient does with Botox.” If you suffer from headaches (not migraines) or migraines that don’t last at least two weeks, Botox will likely not be recommended because it wouldn’t have a high chance of helping you.
Botox is made from botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin created by the bacteria that causes botulism. Botulism is a type of food poisoning caused when bacterium thrives on canned meats and preserved foods that aren’t sterilized—but don’t worry. Botox is purified and only injected in very small doses. It’s safe and clean.
You know that it freezes muscles, but how does that equate to headache relief? To treat migraines, Botox is injected near the pain fibers that play a role in headaches. Botox accesses the nerve endings to block the chemicals that are released during pain transmission. In other words, the pain networks to the brain are temporarily “frozen.” There are no side effects to this treatment, beyond the lack of feeling pain from a migraine. However, typical best practices following Botox injections apply. You want to avoid lying down, sweating (working out), rubbing the area, or elevating your heart rate for 12 hours post-injection. Doing so can cause the Botox to spread to undesired areas and be less effective.
Since Botox is FDA-approved for treating migraines, it’s often covered by insurance plans. It’s also covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Allergan, the makers of Botox, offers a rewards program with bonuses and discounts, too. However, it’s often required that patients try other forms of treatment before insurance plans will cover Botox for migraines. Interested in learning more? Contact Dr. Nikesh Seth and Integrated Pain Consultants.