I’ve had chronic migraines since I was 16, when I was in a bad car accident. Despite physical therapy, massage, chiropractics and probably at least a hundred medications and cocktails of medications, supplements and every home therapy possible, nothing has worked. Oh, some things work or help for a time, don’t get me wrong. There are lots of home techniques that I use and have used for years to help cope with the near daily migraines.
Back in July Doc sent me to a neurologist who decided I would be a good candidate for Botox. When I think of botox I think of those Hollywood horror stories where people are plumped to insane craziness and can’t move their faces. Scary. Not something I want. Neuro doc assured me this is not the case. Lol. He also told me that 80% of his patients get considerable relief from their migraines. This, this did interest me. The neurologist office sent the request to insurance, then a couple weeks later they called me back to schedule my botox appt. Unfortunately scheduling me was several months out, I got to go second week of December.
A few tips for preparing to go
- No makeup! They’re injecting your face and will be using alcohol wipes to clean your face anyways, so just skip the makeup.
- Bring a hair tie.
- Bring someone with you to drive and if you want, to be in the room with you. This was super important for me as I was terrified. My friend’s questions and dialogue helped a ton.
So here’s what happens. Because it’s all in your face and head, you don’t have to change clothes into an awful gown. I do recommend wearing a shirt without a collar and loose enough they can get to your shoulders. Super tiny needle. 27 gauge needle – same size you use to draw blood from tiny kittens. There are 32 injection sites, 200 mls of botox injected total. Doc started between my eyes. Then worked his way over my eyebrows then moved up to my forehead just below my hairline. Next he did 4 injections above each ear on the sides of my head. This was awful, not so much the pain though that was certainly a huge factor, but you hear this crinkly crunching sound when the needle goes into the cartilage. Ugh and shudders. Next Doc moved around to the back of my head and shoulders. This is where the ponytail tie comes in handy. Most of the injections went around the occipital area and then a few into the shoulder muscles. This is where the loose shirt comes in handy.
During the injections I was using my breathing techniques I’ve learned over the years to deal with pain, especially those from labor. They helped, had I not done them I probably would have fainted dead away. As it were, I did have to lie down for a few minutes to regulate myself. According to the doctor, he’s only had one person faint and she was also nervous like I was. I had gotten over my nervousness by that time and it was a matter of pain tolerance. Perhaps I’m a sissy, or maybe it’s my severe fibromyalgia, but it hurt bad.
The neurologist said that for first time botox users, relief usually takes 2-3 weeks but then lasts up to about the 12 week mark when you’re due for your next set of injections. (Procedure is done every 3 months) Unfortunately….. So far… it hasn’t worked at all for me. Some days the migraines are mild enough that though I take medication I don’t record them. But overall nothing has changed. I did talk to the nurse while at an appointment with my pain specialist who gets botox treatments, she said she didn’t get any relief until the 3 set of injections. So… if insurance will continue to cover it, there might still be hope.