PARIS — While Botox may be most known for its use in reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles, it is also used to treat a number of other health conditions, including painful and recurring headaches.
At Horizon Health, certified pain management professionals administer Botox injections to decrease the symptoms and frequency of chronic migraine headaches. Botox, a protein, is effective in relaxing the muscles of the face, head, and neck, providing a reduction in the symptoms of chronic migraine for three months at a time, said Adam Schneider, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and pain management provider at Horizon Health.
“Botox treatments are safe and effective for reducing – and even preventing – chronic migraines,” Schneider said. “The injections enter the nerve endings, blocking the release of chemicals involved in pain transmission to the brain.”
According to the International Headache Society, a chronic migraine is a headache that occurs on 15 or more days a month, for more than three months. Migraine sufferers often experience a throbbing or pulsating pain that usually begins on one side of the head. The person also may be sensitive to light, sound, or smell, and experience nausea and/or vomiting.
Nearly 40 million Americans have migraines. Women are roughly three times more likely to experience them than men. The Federal Drug Administration approved the use of Botox for chronic migraines in 2010.
Candidates for Botox treatments include men or women who experience more than 15 “headache days” a month, eight of which are migraines, Schneider said. “A thorough history of your headache symptoms will be completed to determine the treatment that is right for you,” he added.
Botox treatments are performed in Horizon Health’s Pain Management Clinic. A treatment takes about 15 minutes to complete and involves several injections with a very small needle. A second treatment is given 12 weeks later. Depending on individual results, treatments may continue every 12 weeks thereafter.
“Headache symptoms typically start to decrease about two weeks after the first treatment,” Schneider said. “Typical results include a 50 percent decrease in headache severity and headache days after two rounds of Botox treatment.”
Botox treatments at Horizon Health are provided by certified registered nurse anesthetists who are specially trained in pain management. They are Adam Schneider, Lee Webber, and Scott Williamson.
A medical referral is not required to receive Botox for migraines, but is preferred, Schneider said. Treatments are covered by all major insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid.
For more information about Botox for migraines, call the Horizon Health Pain Management Clinic at 217-466-4226.