Saturday, October 1, 2011

No Botox (yet)

Injection image by TschiAe; modified by War on Headaches
Well, I assumed correctly. I called my insurance and they do cover Botox, only after I meet my deductible, and only 80% of the cost. I have a $1,000 deductible, so needless to say I will not be getting Botox injections anytime soon. I was really looking forward to trying least as much as you can look forward to multiple shots in the head.

Now I'm only doing the following for my headaches:
  • 5-HTP (no change yet)
  • Mouth guard at night for TMJ (might as well not be on the list since it hasn't helped my head)
  • Exercise
  • Gatorade once a day - update: I'm down to the bottom of my Costco-size container of powder, so I don't think my electrolyte levels have an impact on my headaches
  • Therapy about once a month 
  • Drugs as needed: Aleve, Butalbital, Ketorolac
  • Ice pack as needed
The list looks long, but basically I feel like I'm doing nothing, and I'm running out of ideas (that I can afford or attain legally). It's so frustrating. At the same time though, I'm still optimistic that things will get better, and I'm thankful that I've been able to drag myself to class, work and church even with the pain. Surely this headache thing will end some day, right?


Abby said...

I understand about the mouth guard. In fact, it didn't help me at all and I realized, it's probably because it's not actually stopping me from grinding me teeth (if I'm even doing it at all). It's just PROTECTING my teeth if I am grinding. Such to say... the dentist will be happy, but it doesn't actually prevent strain.

Have you tried doing any of these?
Breathing exercises a few minutes a day? I use this, it's really pretty awesome and free:

A nighttime aromatherapy oil. I've used Blissoma

The sinus rinse thing.
(I'm not sure if there's any proof this does anything, but it can't hurt!)

I'm in the middle of trying botox (only done it once). Didn't really help, but I've been told you need to do three sessions (one every three months). I'll let you know how it goes.

Good luck! Thank you for your blog!

Migrainista said...

I've been saying that exact same thing to myself for years now. Something has got to work right??? Then I hit a rough patch and feel like this will never end. Then I have a stretch of better days and I'm sure the next thing I try is going to be my ticket to more better days. And so the cycle goes.

I'm sorry about the Botox.

Heather said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Abby. Good point about the mouth guard. I've also tried Flexeril, a muscle relaxer, but it didn't seem to help my head and it made me way too drowsy in the morning. That's great that you're trying Botox; I've also heard it takes at least three sessions. Good luck!

Migrainista - Agree, it's a constant cycle of hope and despair. I try to keep a hopeful tone on here, but it's good to be honest and realistic too.

Mrs. JayMay said...

Hey Heather! Hope you are feeling well today.

I have a question for you: Do you seem to have headaches more frequently during certain seasons?

I have been suffering with migraines ever since I was 13. A couple of years ago, my mom noticed a trend with my migraines: weather changes. Apparently I get migraines A LOT during the rainy season. Today, I got a migraine (it's raining where I live) and I took the usual meds thinking that it would help. No such luck. Then, strangely, my husband "butt called" me and then talked to me for a little while. He suggested I take an allergy med and see if it helps. Oddly, it did help a little. Do you have allergies?

Heather said...

Mrs. JayMay,

I sometimes track the barometric pressure to see if it correlates with my headaches (so far it doesn't), and I have also had an allergy test but nothing significant showed up. What's weird is that I had AWFUL allergies as a child, mainly from ragweed, but I didn't have headaches as a child. Now I have the headaches but I've outgrown my allergies. I'd take the allergies over headaches any day, for the record!

I hope your husband is right and the allergy medicine continues to work for you. Good luck! :)

Sue said...

Sorry about the Botox coverage. We are in a similar situation in that the clinic visit,the travel, accommodation, everything involving the pain clinic discovered either by our provincial government or my extended health plan at work.

Except the vial of Botox itself.

Also, this clinic insists on four months between injections.

First time - four weeks relief.

Second time - three weeks.

It's interesting to hear that a third treatment might make a difference. That makes me think again about a third try.....

Otherwise, I'm on Axert, Tylenol and that's it.

Thinking of you.....

Heather said...

Sue - I hope the third time is a charm, if you're able to do it. Good luck!

Kelly said...

Do you mind sharing why they say you have to meet your deductible first? Do you have co-pays too? That is interesting. I'm so sorry it is not going to work out for you because of the money. That is really harsh.

We have a high-deductible (this year I think it was $8000, but next year it will be lower...maybe $6000) but we always meet it because my husband gets IV infusions for his Crohn's every 6-8 weeks and they are $4000 a pop. So we hit our deductible early.

Can you remind me because I don't remember...have you ever done any preventatives? Just curious...not pushing. :)

I'm sorry you feel like you are doing nothing. I have a long list too and I often feel like I'm on a treadmill going nowhere.

I'm so glad to hear you are able to go to class, work and church. I miss church so dearly. I honestly don't remember the last time I've gone. I watch messages online, but I miss worship and fellowship.

Heather said...

Kelly - I don't know why they're making me meet my deductible first, other than the fact that they're stupid. :) I do have copays for doctor's visits (I think it's $50 for my specialists). Wow your deductible is high, and so are the IVs for your husband...guess I can't really complain too much!

I have done preventatives, but I did most of them when I was in college (my first round) and didn't have this blog. Most of them had awful side effects but I still gave them about 3 months each except for one that gave me a scary reaction. Not a single one worked. I've tried most of the typical ones - anti-seizures, blood pressure meds, etc. and once I tried a few per category I gave up.

I'm sorry you haven't been able to make it out much, especially to church. If it makes you feel any better, the perfume at my church is INSANE. It kills me. I'm working with my church to create a fragrance-free zone, but I'm thinking of suggesting setting aside a room with a TV that shows the sermon (which they do have) because it's the only way to really avoid the scents, but then I'd lose a lot of the fellowship aspect too, unless I venture into the main room a few minutes before and after. I'm trying to come up with the best solution without being overly demanding!

Glinda Cauthorne said...

I can imagine the pain you experienced from your headaches. I think it's safe to consult doctors before you to try Botox. I believe you'll find a cure to your headaches soon.

Eric said...

If its migraine Botox is a good choice. But the recommended part is to consult a good doctor, that he personally know about your aches.

Skin Care Med Spa

Terry Bayer said...

Yeah, right. Just be positive and don't let your headache ruin your day. Someday that problem will be solved - with or without botox.

Katie Hallison said...

It's better if you exercise frequently and not rely mainly on medicines in order to ease your headache. And of course, have a positive outlook in life. Just don't give up on your war against them.

EMR said...

Yes I think Botox is not covered by most insurance because they treat that as cosmetic surgery...but breast surgeries in case of cancer have the coverage.

santa barbara chiropractor - dr.zemella said...

People around the world continue to turn to chiropractic care for headache problems. It was estimated in 1995 by the National Institutes of Health that already about 48 million people in the USA used chiropractic treatment, and the numbers around the world are growing. A recent trial done for a PHD thesis at Macquarie University, showed that 60% of migraine sufferers had a reduction in their symptoms during the course of the treatment. They reviewed headache chiropractor and other chiropractic services since 1923, and found a success rate between 72% and 90%. The benefits at times seemed to last for years after the treatments.

Chiropractic services seem to be most successful in the treatment of back problems, headache and migraine. In a study published in 1995 that related to tension headache, in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. It found that headache chiropractor care did provide some benefits.

Chiropractic services deals with subluxations (misalignments of vertebrae causing nerve irritation) anywhere along the spinal column, not just in the lower back. Sometimes the vertebrae of the spine become misaligned or lose their range of motion for one reason or another. This misalignment puts pressure on nerves leading to and from the brain. A chiropractor helps put them back in place by using gentle and highly skilled adjustments.

Going to a headache chiropractor services is a safe and effective way to treat headaches or migraines without drugs. The idea behind chiropractic is not that the condition itself is treated, but that the body is able to heal itself. Some people have dramatic results, and become completely headache free. Some migraine sufferers find complete relief. Others find relief simply from some symptoms or after effects of the migraine attack. The best thing to do is find a chiropractor that you’re comfortable with, and track the results of the treatment over time.


There are three things to remember when considering headache chiropractor treatment. First, always talk to your doctor and let her know what you’re doing. You especially need to see your doctor if you’re having new symptoms. Second, choose your chiropractor carefully. Third, remember that headache chiropractor treatment is not a treatment of conditions. It helps the body heal itself. That means that chiropractic care often goes along with other treatments and general healthy living.

Kari said...

Botox is the one thing so far that really seems to help me. I did it at the end of the year after our deductible had been met, and got another round on injections before dec 31st. It has taken my HA days from around 13 a month to 7-8. The first time it only lasted 10 weeks, so I am hoping it will last longer this time.