If you’ve ever suffered from a migraine, you know how debilitating they can be. In the world of headache varieties, migraines are in a league of their own; pounding pain, usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Many migraine sufferers know what’s coming when they experience a preliminary “aura,” a sensory disturbance that comes over them before the pain begins.
Migraines have plagued many well known figures, including entertainers Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley, political and historic figures including Thomas Jefferson, Julius Caesar, Napolean, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Mary Todd Lincoln, authors Virginia Woolf and Lewis Carroll, neurologist/psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and many others.
Experts estimate that 15 percent of the U.S. population experiences migraines at some time in their lives.
Migraines can be exacerbated by light, noise, and even smells, which is why most sufferers need to recover in a darkened, silent room. There is no specific known cause of migraines, although studies show there could be a hereditary connection. Also, sleep disturbances, some red wines, MSG, aged cheese, chocolate, stress, barometric pressure and other environmental factors can be triggers. Most physicians first try to help patients with lifestyle changes and medication to halt their suffering.
However thousands of patients who simply don’t respond to lifestyle changes and medications are responding to BOTOX injections for migraines. In fact, many are calling Botox a wonder drug that has given them their lives back.
People have been receiving BOTOX treatments to prevent migraines since before it received FDA approval as a migraine treatment in 2010, but had to pay for it out-of-pocket since insurance did not cover it prior to FDA approval. Usually, patients start out with Botox injections every three months to prevent migraines, and over time the frequency is reduced to every six months. An astonishing 85 percent of migraine sufferers improve with Botox treatments.
Migraine headaches are one of the most disabling but under-recognized neurological conditions; chronic migraine sufferers experience a headache more than 14 days of the month, which can severely interfere with family, work, and social life, so effective treatment is very important.
Physicians who administer BOTOX treatments for migraines are few and far between, and must have special training to know how and where to inject the Botox to extinguish them. Allergan, Inc., the maker of Botox, advises qualified physicians to administer 31 Botox injections into seven specific sites on the head and neck. Some people self diagnose their infrequent migraines and treat them with medications to provide temporary relief, instead of seeking an evaluation and diagnosis from a neurologist who can offer a long-term treatment plan.
Ultimately, BOTOX prevents migraines before they start, offering an option for people who want to reclaim the hours and days lost to migraine pain, and control their quality of life.