If you’re part of the 3-5% of Americans who experience chronic headaches or migraines, you’ve probably been looking for something to give you the relief you need. If you’ve tried every pain medication and home remedy to get rid of your migraines, it may be time to consider trying Botox injections (botulinum toxin). Research shows that the average person who has it done can expect 8 or 9 days with headaches or migraines per month.
Botox was FDA approved for the treatment of migraines over 10 years ago. While they don’t completely eliminate migraines, the significant reduction in frequency and severity is a huge boost to quality of life for most people.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
An examination will be performed to determine which muscles and what dosage of Botox should be injected. They are administered via a very small needle that feels like a pinprick. The muscles relax, creating relief from tension headaches, and the neurotoxin blocks pain receptors.
WHY DOES IT HELP REDUCE HEADACHES OR MIGRAINES?
There are a variety of things that cause headaches. Many triggers for migraines and headaches are lifestyle related. Stress, diet, lack of exercise, and muscle tension are common triggers. Botox can reduce headaches or migraines by drastically reducing muscle tension in the head and neck. Less muscle tension results in less frequent headaches or migraines.
Research indicates that Botox blocks neurotransmitters that carry pain signals to your brain. By acting as a roadblock in the pain pathway, it prevents you from feeling some of the discomfort you normally would have felt.
Headaches and migraines are also related to bruxism, commonly referred to as grinding your teeth. By reducing or eliminating teeth grinding with Botox injections, you can also prevent the headaches that would be caused by it.
HOW LONG DO BOTOX INJECTIONS LAST?
Typically results will start to appear within 2-10 days. Sometimes it can take 4 weeks to achieve maximum results. Results last up to 12 weeks from the time of injection. For patients who want constant relief from their headaches or migraines, they will come in for injections every 12 weeks.
Every person is different, but you will start to feel the muscles that were injected slowly gaining their strength back. It isn’t like a light switch, where you flip on the muscle tension, and then flip it off. You’ll notice yourself slightly more tense, and may notice the frequency of headaches or migraines increases. Then you’ll know it’s time to have the Botox injections performed again.
DO BOTOX INJECTIONS HURT?
Most patients find that it feels like a pinprick. It isn’t a significant amount of discomfort, and the benefits drastically outweigh the feeling of the injections. If you are needle-phobic, the first time may be a little nerve-wracking, but the subsequent visits will be much easier
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
We charge $12 per unit at our office. This is on the lower end for Tigard and the Portland Metropolitan area. Botox injections can result in a significant improvement in quality of life for our patients, so we try to make it as affordable as possible.
Insurance does not typically cover any of the cost of Botox injections for chronic headaches or migraines, so the cost of treatment would be completely out of pocket.
Depending on where we are injecting, patients will need anywhere from 20-80 units of Botox injected. This means the cost will range from $240-$960. Your injector should discuss the costs with you before performing the Botox treatment. Depending on your budget, you may opt to inject some, but not all of the areas recommended by your injector. It will still reduce headaches and migraines, but won’t offer the maximum amount of relief.
WHAT THE PROCESS OF GETTING TREATMENT?
The process starts with a consultation that takes about 15 minutes. During this time Dr. Henderson will take photos, discuss your goals, perform an examination of the head and neck, and come up with a treatment plan unique to your needs. Most patients choose to have the neurotoxin injections done the same day, as it only adds about 10 minutes to the appointment.
If you would like to schedule a free consult to meet with Dr. Henderson and discuss if Botox injections might help with your headaches or migraines, you can call the office at (503) 862-9086 or click Book Your Appointment in the upper right hand corner to schedule an appointment online.