Botox for Chronic Migraines

I've suffered with chronic migraines for the past...

I've suffered with chronic migraines for the past 35 years, and I've taken all of the following medicines:

Divalproex ER 250MG, Oxycodone 5MG, Abilify, Topamax, Cafergot, Prozac, Depakote, Atenolol, Sumatriptan, Migranal Spray, and so many others that I can't even remember the names of them.

The Sumatriptan and the Migranal Spray work some of the time, but they both have side effects and have expensive med co-pays.

Tomorrow, I'm going to get Botox from a neurologist to see if it will help. The only thing that I'm really concerned about is that they injected it where they want it and not where you want it, as a dermatologists does. However, my headaches are so excruciating that I guess it will be OK, if it works. I'll let you know if I look weird and if it helps at all.

The neurologist will be injecting the Botox with about 30 shots in my face, temples, and neck. Luckily, my insurance will cover it because I have extensive, medical documentation records regarding all of the medicines that have failed to provide me with any relief. I've attach a drawing that is similar to where the doctor will be placing the injections.

I got the Botox injections done yesterday, and it...

I got the Botox injections done yesterday, and it only hurt a little bit. The pain is nothing compared to a migraine headache. The doctor told me not to lower my head for four hours, so no reading books, but using a computer was OK.

The doctor gave me an Rx for some pain cream, but I didn't have to fill it since the pain was only in a few spots and went away in about an hour.

The whole procedure only took about 1/2 hour once she started with the shots. It took the doctor more time to mix the medication before we started. She used five syringes, two giant ones with large needles, and three small ones with tiny needles. The large syringes were used for the back of my head and sides of my neck. The smaller ones were used for my forehead and temples. She started with the face injections firsts, then the temples, and did the back of my head and neck last.

I only have one small bruise on my face by my hair line, which can easily be covered with makeup. No pain anymore at all, and I don't see or notice any difference in the way my skin looks or moves.

The doctor said that it takes about one week for the shots to kick in, and that most people don't see any reductions in the amount of migraines they get until the second secession of shots, which are given in three months. I have a followup appointment in two months, and then a month after that I'll get the second set of shots.

I'll let you know in a week if any of my wrinkles smooth out since I know this Web site is really for beauty tips. I'm 52, so if they do, that it would be an extra plus, but I really, really want to get some relieve from my migraines.

The reason I decided to post here is because there are really no other sites that have honest user reviews about Botox, like the Real Self does. There are also no posts from people that have actually had Botox for migraines on this site, and all you can find on the Internet are articles about the procedure and some small, trial sample results.

I read all of the Botox posts here before my procedure, and I was thinking....I'm not going to do that, but once I got another terrible migraine, it didn't matter anymore.

It's been one week since I got my Botox...

It's been one week since I got my Botox injections, and, so far, no change in the frequency or durations of my migraines.

I'm very happy with my appearance, though. I look about seven years younger, and I don't have any droopy eyelids, mannequin face, or a giant forehead like the Martians in the movie "Mars Attacks."

The best outcome so far is something that I never expected...

I'm also partially deaf, due to a virus I got five years ago, and to make a long story short, I now have only 20% hearing in my left ear and 80% in my right ear. I wear hearing aids in both ears, and that helps a lot with the hearing loss. However, I also have terrible tinnitus in my left ear, and about three days ago, I noticed that the ringing and high-pitched whining, electric buzzing noises in my left ear have been greatly diminishing. If it stays like this now, a light seashore noise, than that alone will make the injections worth it.

For the past few days, it has been the first time in the past five years that I'm actually able to concentrate on projects, instead of trying to concentrate over constant ringing noises in my left ear. I'm going to mention it to my neurologist when I go to my follow-up appointment in two months. This is one side-effect that I don't mind at all!

It's been about three weeks since I had my first...

It's been about three weeks since I had my first round of Botox shots, and I've changed the rating to "Worth It" because it really is helping me.

I'm still getting headaches, but they are just regular ones and not excruciating migraines. The tinnitus in my left ear is still softer. My forehead wrinkles are less apparent, but on the outer sides where the doctor didn't use any Botox they appear worse because the middle of my forehead is much smoother. I can now see how when one fixes something on their face that they start to focus on something else and want to fix that, too.

I do have a constant stiffness in my upper back at the base of my neck that I'll have to discuss with my doctor, but a couple of Ibuprofen in the morning are all I need. I also have to splash water on my face the first thing when I wake up and use anti-itch eye drops, or my eyebrows seem, to me, to look too high. My husband doesn't notice any difference, so maybe it's just me, but I think it helps. Everyone says that I don't look any different at all.

I'm just so happy that this has helped my migraines so soon, and all the other minor neck and back stiffness is nothing compared to the migraines and tinnitus. The neurologist told me that I probably wouldn't get any relief until the second round of shots, and I'm just ecstatic that it didn't take that long!!!

I added some before and after pictures

I added some before and after pictures. The text that I added to the pictures got cut off in the upload. The first picture of my forehead was taken two days ago, three and a half weeks after the Botox, and the other, more wrinkled photo, was taken in 2007 when I was 47.

I was even more wrinkled-up a few weeks ago, as I'm 52 now.. I just happen to be putting these pictures into a photo album, they're both untouched. What a difference! Not only are my headaches better, but so in my tinnitus, and I look younger...I feel like I've won the Win, Place, and Show!

I just had my second round of Botox injections on...

I just had my second round of Botox injections on 12/21/2012, this time the neurologist did the 31 shot recommended protocol, and a couple of extra shots further back of the shots that I get in my temples. She said that this might help because my muscles are so large from grinding and clenching my teeth. I've been wearing a nightguard for the past 10 years, but sometimes I forget and only wear it a few times a week.

This second round was done 4 months after the first round, and about three weeks before the second round, I started to get terrible migraines again. The day after she did the second round, I got an excruciating migraine that lasted the whole day, but it could have been due to the stress of getting the shots. Who really wants to get 31+ shots in their face, temples, and neck.

The only side-effect that I had from the first round was that my upper back felt tight for about two months, it didn't hurt, but it was just uncomfortable, a couple of Advil helped. I told the neurologist about this and she used a lesser strength at the base of my neck, so hopefully, it won't happen again.

She does a lot of Botox for migraine patients, so I asked her if it helps them, too, and she said that she has found that it help her patients the most that are teeth grinders and who clench their teeth.

I wanted to have the second round at 3 months, but I was unable to get an appointment sooner. Luckily, I had been hording my Sumatriptan meds that I didn't need for the past three months. I only get 9 pills a month because of my insurance, and I used up my whole supply during the last month before my second round of shots.

I'll post another update next week when it kicks in.

Recommend to first neurologist by a psychiatrist. The first neurologist tried many different meds on me, so many that I was beginning to feel like a lab rat. She then suggested Botox, which she doesn't do, and then referred me to a second neurologist that does do Botox.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (61)

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since i had botox for bad head ache and migraine, my eyes have closed up,they dont hurt but it dose not look good, july 17 2014 got to have second lot in oct 8 2014,I am 65 years young
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Is it really worked? I don’t have any idea about Botox. I hope that it will be rescue me from migraine headaches as soon as possible. I was suffering with this headache from last 10 years.
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i get Botox injections for facials spasms and headaches... the MAXIMUM a 100 unit bottle of Botox costs in about $500, and that is usually what insurance co. will pay, the dr. visit may be couple hundred dollars. They can "charge" what they will, but insurance will pay what they are contracted to. My dr. office visit is less than $300, i get my Botox from Specialty Pharmacy, is $485, my copay is $145. I recently came across the Botox Partnership For Access website as someone mentioned above, i signed up, they mailed me a form, i filled it out, faxed it back with all my receipts (they will reimburse up to 3 years) and received my prepaid MC debit card, they reimbursed me a total of $983. I would consider trying a different neurologist but defin. NOT a PS for medical, your insurance will not pay as it would probably be billed as cosmetic. Just my 2 cents... check into the reimbursement program though
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I just had my second botox treatment, the first one I got some relief for about seven weeks. I was having headaches 5 to 7 days a week. I'm still on 500 mg of Topamax day, .5 xanax 3 times a day, muscle relaxer and 1mg. Of xanax to sleep. I pray this round of botox helps but I had it done yesterday and today I can't move my arms up and my neck is hurting very bad and I'm having some shortness of breath have had to take a dilaudid to make it through the day hopefully things will get better. Have had a migraine all night took a imitrex shot. I keep Imitrex shots, Imitrex pills, and migranol inhaler.

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I just had my third round of Botox injections and it is finally helping! So don't get discouraged if you don't see results with the first two rounds of injections!
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Good to hear! Thank you! I'm about 4 weeks in from my first round. I was wondering how everyone was doing that had gone more than once.
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Thank you! I read an article where a neurologist said he did not expect most of his pt.'s to feel better until the third round of injections. So that gave me hope since the first two rounds did not do much for the pain, but did help with the nausea and dizziness I would get. My neurologist said she had one pt. who had migraines 5 days a week and finally after the third round of Botox injections he got relief to getting just one migraine week. Good luck!
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How is everything going now?  Are you still getting Botox for your migraines? 

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Wish me luck! I start Botox tomorrow! I have had migraines for 30 years, and have been on every medication, supplement, and therapy there is I think. Looking forward and feeling hopeful that this works. I get migraines 3 - 4 days/week. Too much!
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I had Botox done on April 1, 2013 for severe migraines for over 25 years. I use 100 mg Imitrex whenever I feel a headache coming on. If I take it in time the imitrex usually works. My insurance only gives me 18 tablets so I break it in half so it can last me the month. Most of the time I have to spend my own money to get extra tablets. The First couple of weeks after receiving the Boxtox I able to make it thru the day without taking and medication, but I would wake up in the morning with a headache. I was able to take Excedrin and it would go away. I had problems swallowing, shortness of breath and stiff neck which all seem to go away after a few months. I have an appoint today after six months and my headache seems to have gotten worse. I will let you know what my doctor, Dr. Rosen recommends. New york

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How is it going? What did your doc say?
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I am scheduled for my first treatment on Wednesday and I can't wait. I have suffered all my life but lately they have totally taken over my daily life. I, too, have been on so many medications, have tried acupuncture, chiropractor, massage therapy, etc., etc. My neurologist tells me my migraines will cut back 90-95%. I'll settle for less. The ER knows me too well. I decided to move forward with this treatment when I flew to Texas for my daughter's undergraduate graduation ceremony and only made it there with two students to spare. I would have been devastated to miss her receiving that diploma! Just to let everyone know, my neurologist told me that migraines are just the beginning. He states that Botox will be used as a leading pain manager for all kinds of ailments by 2015. I hate to wish days away but I can't wait for Wednesday!
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I also suffer from Major Migraines. I also have Seizures. I've been on so many different types of Meds, I couldn't begin to say their names. Topomax was one med my neurologist put me on years ago. It was mainly because I was taking up to 16 Advils daily just to get by. The pain was so intense. My migraines would last anywhere from 3 to 6 days (24/7). No relief until it ran its course. The problem I have with Topomax is the side effects. My minds went blank (seriously, I couldn't think of anything b/c there was nothing in there - Scary). I also had to be near a bathroom at all times b/c another side effect is "loosing control of bowels" - Not a fun thing - especially when it happens in public. My IQ actually dropped - I was beginning to regress. (I was taken 100 mg 2 x daily) it helped for a while; but, sadly that's all. After doing research and finding I wasn't alone in this, I told my Neurologist and asked to be taken off Topomax. He agreed. I am much better now. My Neuro suggested to try Botox treatments as a way to help the pain of Migraines. I'll try anything once to get some relief.... Migraines are soo painful. (I've even had to go in for shots to stop the Migraine pain). I am also on Oxygen therapy for Migraine Pain. I agreed to try the Botox. Shots were not really painful. I do have to say, that since I have received Botox treatment, I still have Migraines; but, they are no longer 3-6 day (24/7). It's more like 12 - to 24hrs. That's a far cry from where I was before Botox. I'll take Botox over Topomax anyday!!!

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I found headache relief from botox as well. It was not psychosomatic or even something I thought might happen. It was not something I had sought out help from a physician either. Simply put, regular (3 month) botox injections by my dermatologist has helped my headaches when nothing else has. Thank you for your post.
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lillitoo I am glad you found relief, but I see you went to a dermatologist, that's usually under cosmetic when we are dealing with coverage. Maybe if you see a neurologist, your insurance will cover it next time. Especially when it's medical, your headaches and my eye twitching. I was glad I only had to pay $125.00 instead of over $1,000.00.
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Thanks Inspector, I was actually considering it. I probably should have elaborated more on my initial post but the last time I wrote a lengthy passage, it was lost in cyber space...hopefully this will go through..:) To clarify, I go to my awesome dermatologist all the time. She suggested botox for forehead wrinkles. I finally caved in April of this year. It was only intend for cosmetic purposed..obviously, but I had read that it may help headaches. Also to clarify, I get tension headaches all the time but true migraines about once a year. I like the results of cosmetic botox, truly it is an art and if someone does not know what they are doing the results look so plastic to me. At any rate, I noticed right away that my headaches decreased by maybe~80%. The "proof was really in the pudding" when my headaches came right back shortly before the 3 month mark. Almost as soon as I got my second round of botox, the headaches went away again. I am considering talking to my general practitioner about this, however, my concerns are: I have never asked her about my headaches previous to this, and I don't have faith that if she does inject my forehead or other areas that she is qualified enough to both a medical and cosmetic...good job, for lack of a better word. Well that's my two cents. :)
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Botox is RIDICULOUS. Recently, Scripps Hospital, La Jolla, has finally listed ONIONS (and shallots) as being one of the trigger foods for migraines. I CURED MYSELF from 20 years of debilitating migraines by keeping a diary of foods I ate and eliminating onions from my diet. Onions are found in seemingly innocent foods, even in bullion cubes and catsup! They are also in every salad dressing and canned soup you can buy in markets, as well as many store bought salads, sandwiches, etc. ALSO, THE EFFECT CAN BE CUMULATIVE. One piece of onion might not be too bad, but three days in a row -- watch out! I have never had a migraine since I started keeping this food chart. Hope this helps!

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Do not call something RIDICULOUS until you have been through it.
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I am due to have botox for headache on monday. I have suffered withe chronic persistent daily headache/migraine for the last 4 years. Been through all the meds..from sodium valproate to topiramate - to no avail - including pain meds etc. Can anybody tell me what you can and can't do after the injections i.e. exercise or massage or chiro etc? I am really hope these help.. haven't been headache free since 2009. Trigger points seem to be my neck and right shoulder and especially the occipital region of the base of my skull. Any feedback?
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I've now had the Botox three times for my headaches. The neurologist will put 31 shots in your forehead, temples, back of neck and shoulders. They have a certain protocol that they follow. Based on your follow-up visit in about six weeks, they might adjust your dosage next time. You should not lie down or read a book or anything where you need to look down for at least four hours after the procedure. You can drive yourself home, use a computer, or do anything with your head and back sitting or standing in a straight up position. You must do this so the Botox does not move. The first time I got the Botox injections, I did get the droopy eyelid thing, but I used some over-the-counter allergy eye-drops every morning and it went away in one week. The second time I had the Botox, I didn’t get any droopy eyelids, but my back hurt for a couple of weeks. Now, that I've had the third round, I have had no side effects and they have reduced my headaches by 80-85% every month. The injections hurt, but not as much as a migraine, and then the pain goes away when the doctor is finished with the procedure. After you get the injections, they can cause a terrible migraine on the second day, which is what happens to me. You also might get some bruising at the injection sites, but any foundation make- up will that care of that. After suffering for over 30 years with migraines, I only wish they had this when I was younger. The injections have been a Godsend for me!

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Had the first round of Botox about 2 weeks ago. Injections were a bit painful and my scalp was bleeding pretty good. Had to endure a bloody scalp for about a day and a half because my scalp was too sensitive to wash. About day 6 I woke up without a migraine. I have NOT woke up without a headache/migraine in about 7 years!! I didn't know what to do with myself. I sat on the side of my bed in total disbelief for a long while then I burst into tears...purely tears of joy and relief! I was even able to go out golfing for the afternoon with my husband. The last time we went golfing was 4 years ago. I am hesitant to say that it's working because I don't want to jinx The only real side effect I am experiencing is neck pain. When I wake up it's not too bad but by mid-day it is stiff and hard to turn from side to side. It almost feels like my head suddenly grew to be about 200 lbs. I find I am constantly over using the muscles in the front of my neck just to hold it up. By evening time I look like one of those bobble-head dolls you see in car windows. I have to say though, it's better than a migraine any day!! Neurologist says this "may" go away but it could be a side effect that will continue for the duration of Botox treatments. On my second round we will discuss further and perhaps not inject all the way down to the neck muscles. On a side note - My forehead looks "smoother" but I am still able to scowl at my husband if need Not sure if this is from the Botox or not though. About a week before I had the injections I started doing Infrared Light Therapy to see if it helped with the migraines. I've heard all kinds of good things about it and thought I would give it a try. Red Light Therapy (Infrared) also helps with anti-aging so it could be that as well. Either way, I am thrilled. I'll post more as time passes because it may still be too soon for the full results to happen for me.
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@margo zargo - this is a very helpful posting, thank you! Based on demand from our community members, we recently opened up a new section on RealSelf dedicated to discussion of Botox for Migraines. This makes it easier for headache sufferers to find stories like yours. 

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I have been dealing with a constant headache for almost three months now. I woke up with a headache the middle of Feb 2013 and it had never gone away. It started out with a trip to the emergency room with a headache that I had been dealing with for about a week. I had been taking Ibuprophin like candy with no success and my husband finally insisted that we go to the ER. After several rounds of pain meds in my IV, a CAT scan which came back OK, a spinal tap which came back as negative for infection, I was kept overnight for observation and given a diagnosis of headache/possible viral meningitis. After taking a week medical leave from work, I returned to work and was headache free for a week. That was short lived and the headaches came back with a vengeance. I contacted my family doctor and she put me on Tramadol. After a few days of no relief, she set me up with a neurologist, but I had to wait about a month for an appt. In the meantime I was given an extension of the Tramadol to get me through until the appt. Upon seeing the neurologist they put me on Vistaril because they thought it was rebound headaches. This was ineffective and the headaches were still persistent. It has now been almost three months and I am still dealing with constant daily headaches. I have done almost three weeks of physical therapy because they thought the pinched nerve in my neck may be the cause, a MRI which showed nothing significant, and am awaiting a sleep study because they want to check for sleep apnea. I have also been on steroid meds which did nothing for me either. I have looked into possibly getting my pressure checked on my eyes but am waiting to see what the sleep study shows. I have also looked into the Botox injections but am wondering if they would do me any good.
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I am surprised that you saw benefits of the botox on your face, because I wish I had seen that on me, ha. I just had my first round of botox for daily severe migraines but my Dr. kept the injections close to my hairline. She does my second injections at 6 months. I thought she would say at 3 months but she said that the protocal is at 6 months. I hope she is not being too conservative. My migraine is actually worse the second day after the injections. Thank you for giving me hope because I have tried everything and nothing has worked so far.
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I had two rounds of Botox injections 3 months apart administered by a Neurologist. My head hurt very bad for two weeks. Extreme pain for three days post injection. I know that this does not happen often but it happened to me. Finally the third month out my headaches began to lessen. I would caution anyone to really think about these injections. There is big money in this business for the doctors and pharmaceutical companies. I know it helps some people but these drugs are dangerous and the side effects are worth paying attention to and it is not worth being trendy for. Just a thought.
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