Syringes with different chemicals injections into a red apple on an orange background.

Could Botox Help My Vestibular Migraines?—Part 2

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

I was a little nervous waiting for my number to appear on the screen to signal me to enter the consultation room. I was also feeling incredibly fortunate that I had been offered this treatment as an option to help relieve my ongoing vestibular migraine symptoms. Though I was trying to manage my expectations, I couldn’t help but feel a little cautious hope that Botox could help the relentless pressure I’d been feeling in my head for the past few years. I hoped it would help me think more clearly, and bring me a better quality of life. 

I didn’t need to wait for my number to come up on the screen. I saw from the corner of my eye, the neurologist who would be administering the treatment. I gave him a nod and he nodded back. The waiting room was busy, and I was happy to have established some contact. He went into a room for a few minutes and shortly came out and asked me to follow him into the consultation room. I took a deep breath. I was ready for this. I deserve to feel well, I told myself. I followed him into the room.

He asked me a few questions about a medication I had been trialling. Since my last appointment, I had been taking a type of calcium channel blocker, which had provided some relief. I told the doctor I felt the medication had been helpful, but as we had established in our last meeting, this wasn’t our primary goal. Though the medication had provided some much-appreciated relief, it was the Botox that would hopefully, in his words, “Help so much more.” I asked whether there might be any side effects of the Botox, and he reassured me that there wouldn’t be, and that I could resume my usual activities following the treatment. I double-checked I would be able to safely do yoga the next day. “Of course!” he said, smiling. “You can do yoga, pilates, whatever you want!” I also asked him if it would be safe to get a chiropractic adjustment a few weeks following the treatment—I have ongoing neck pain, which is worse when my migraines flare up. “Of course,” he repeated. He paused, “But you’ll probably find you don’t need to see a chiropractor. This is going to help your neck too.” Wow, I felt super positive about his enthusiasm for the treatment. 

I sat in a chair for the whole procedure. I was asked to close my eyes and relax. I had read that there would be 31 different injections to my temples, forehead, neck, upper back, shoulders, and back of the head. The first injections were on my forehead. There was a slight sting with each one. I focussed on counting the injections while breathing deeply. The doctor injected all the areas within just a few minutes. The most painful sites, for me, were at the back of my head, an area that also gets very sore with migraines and is particularly sensitive. Within what felt like less than 5 minutes, he was done, and I was told to open my eyes. I felt a little sore and fragile, but nothing too bad. 

The neurologist explained that it takes about 3 days for the Botox to start taking effect. He told me to stop taking my medication in 2 weeks, as this was when I might start feeling benefits from the Botox. If the treatment works, I will have the injections every 3 months. When talking about how effective the treatment is for people with migraine, he assured me that this treatment helps approximately 80% of people with chronic migraine. Fingers crossed, it will help me! 

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