San Francisco Neurology and Sleep Center

Sleep Lab located in Chinatown, San Francisco, CA

Botox® may be best known as a cosmetic injectable treatment for facial wrinkles, but the truth is, it can do a lot more. Botox is FDA-approved to treat migraine headaches in adults who experience 15 or more headache days a month. Joy Meng, MD, and the team at San Francisco Neurology and Sleep Center in Chinatown, San Francisco, offer Botox as a treatment option for chronic migraine. To find out if this treatment could be right for you, make an appointment by phone today.

Botox Q & A

What is Botox®?

Botox is an injectable treatment containing onabotulinumtoxin A, a purified neurotoxin. Traditionally used to smooth facial wrinkles, Botox relaxes muscles to minimize the look of forehead and eye wrinkles. 

To treat headaches, very small amounts of Botox are injected into specific areas of the head and neck by a trained specialist. Botox reduces muscle contractions and halts chemical releases that cause sensations of pain, significantly reducing the number of headaches you experience. 

How can Botox prevent headaches?

Botox is FDA-approved for headache treatment in people who have been diagnosed with chronic migraine or tension headaches. Chronic migraine is defined as having more than 15 headaches per month. At San Francisco Neurology and Sleep Center, the team uses Botox to prevent migraine headaches before they even start.

Botox is injected around nerve endings in your head and neck. It effectively blocks the release of pain signals in the nerves responsible for headache pain, stopping sensations of pain before they reach the brain.

For migraine treatment, Botox lasts between 10-12 weeks. Many patients see increased benefits from regular treatments, spaced about three months apart. Botox isn’t recommended for other types of headaches, like cluster headaches or ocular migraine. 

Will my insurance cover Botox for migraine treatment?

Because Botox is FDA-approved for chronic migraine, many insurance plans cover treatment, including Medicare and Medicaid. Some plans may require you to try alternative preventive treatments before using Botox. 

Talk to your insurance provider to learn about your options. The staff at San Francisco Neurology and Sleep Center can help you understand what treatment option is best for your headaches.

What is Botox treatment like?

If you get Botox for headaches, you can expect to come in for treatment about once every three months. Each treatment takes only 20 minutes and there’s often no downtime after the procedure. 

The team may perform up to 30 tiny injections around your head and neck. The needle is small, and most patients say the injections feel like tiny pinpricks. The most common side effect is a sore neck after treatment, but the pain is usually mild and fades after a few hours.

Botox can do more than minimize facial wrinkles. If you suffer from chronic migraine headaches, Botox injections can stop the pain before it starts. Visit the team at San Francisco Neurology and Sleep Center, Inc. to learn more about your treatment options.