What is Botox for Migraines?
Migraines are recurrent, extremely painful headaches that affect millions of Americans, from Los Angeles to New York, every year. Seventy five percent of migraine sufferers are women. Recurring migraines significantly impact the quality of life for those who suffer from them. Typical migraine episode symptoms include throbbing pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and disorientation. Some migraine episodes can be so extreme that it becomes impossible to perform basic functions such as driving a car or going to work. Finding an effective treatment for recurrent migraine headaches has been a medical priority for many years. Because of this, it’s not completely arbitrary to ask if you can use Botox to treat migraines.
In 2001, a serendipitous breakthrough led to the discovery that Botox can be very effective in reducing both the frequency and the intensity of migraine episodes. Botox is an injectable that has been used in cosmetic procedures to reduce the appearance of facial fine lines and wrinkles since the 1980s. Gradually, Botox patients who also suffered migraines began reporting that their headaches and other related symptoms subsided and that migraine episodes were less frequent and less intense. It became clear that Botox injections were targeting the same nerves and muscles in the face that were involved in migraine attacks. Originally the medical community thought that migraines were due mostly to spasm of blood vessels, but this was clear evidence that facial muscle spasm was involved in triggering and perpetuating migraine episodes. By relaxing this muscle activity in the head and neck, Botox can safely lower the frequency, severity and length of migraine episodes.
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for use in treating migraine headaches. Studies show that Botox is effective against chronic migraines and headache syndromes. Botox has since become a popular method of treatment for migraines and headaches.
This important and unexpected discovery gives migraine sufferers a safe alternative to daily prescription medications. Conventional treatments for preventing migraines include high blood pressure drugs, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. Treatments to reduce migraine symptoms include pain relief medication, opiates and anti-nausea medication. Many of these drugs come with unpleasant side effects like nausea, sleepiness, stomach problems and sexual dysfunction.
Am I a Good Candidate for Botox for Migraines in Los Angeles?
Botox treatments consist of several tiny injections that Dr. Rivkin and his certified injectors administer in multiple, very precise areas of the head and neck. While no anesthesia is necessary, we may apply ice or a numbing cream to the injection site to reduce any discomfort for the patient. Botox treatments for migraines typically entail treatments at 12-week intervals. While results differ for each patient, the positive effects of each procedure last up to 6 months. Dr. Rivkin has seen that some people who get Botox regularly for migraines tend to need less and less of a dose as their treatment continues.
Los Angeles Experts in Botox and Migraine Relief
Dr. Alexander Rivkin’s practice has been focused on Botox and filler injections since 2003. He has treated tens of thousands of patients with Botox at Westside Aesthetics in Los Angeles. Migraines and TMJ disorders constitute a major part of his practice. The muscles and nerves in the face are complex–for safe and effective results, you need a doctor who has both expertise in the effects of Botox and a deep knowledge about the complex web of muscles that contribute to migraines. Call Dr. Rivkin today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Pros and Cons of Botox for Migraines in Los Angeles
So can you use Botox to treat migraines? In some cases, yes. Botox will not offer a permanent solution for migraine headaches. It is necessary for the patient to return every 3-6 months as the Botox wears off. However, it does provide effective relief for many people. Most patients will notice relief as soon as 5-7 days following the Botox injections. When performing the first treatment, Dr. Rivkin will usually recommend a 2 week follow up visit in order to ensure that the treatment was effective.
Some migraine headaches are triggered by grinding and clenching of the teeth, otherwise known as bruxism. Dr. Rivkin has been very successful at treating this condition with Botox as well, which can lead to long term recovery in many cases. By weakening the masseter muscle in the jaw, we can often break the habit of clenching or grinding. Not only will this alleviate the headaches associated with the condition, but it will also protect the teeth from further damage. Insurance companies will often reimburse you for migraine or bruxism treatments. Although our office does not bill insurance directly, we are happy to provide a letter for you to submit to your insurance provider.
If you suffer from migraine headaches and have not found a successful way to manage the condition, Botox may be the solution for you. Please call or email us to schedule a complimentary consultation. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.