A little over a week ago I got Botox for the treatment of my headaches so I I figured I should provide some thoughts and impressions about Botox.
- Botox is weird. I mean, if you think about it, the whole concept of Botox is weird. You’re injecting a toxin, into your skin, to paralyze the muscles and nerves. While Botox has many uses, to include headache treatment, excessive sweating treatment (strange but true), it’s probably best known for stopping the appearance of wrinkles. Which means most people who get Botox are getting shots to the face, much like I did.
- While the shots don’t hurt necessarily, they don’t feel great. It’s much like getting any other shot – you feel the pinch of the needle and then another pinch as the medicine is pushed into your body. I got seven shots, from temple to temple, across my brow line. It didn’t feel great, and if it cured my headaches I would have endured dozens of these shots but I can’t really imagine doing it every three months for the sake of having a wrinkle-free forehead. I guess I’m not vain enough.
- Many people get immediate headache relief from Botox. Sadly, I wasn’t one of those people. For over 24 hours I could still furrow, wrinkle, and otherwise normally move my forehead. And I still had a headache. Then, while driving my boyfriend to the airport, I got an intense pain in my forehead and I could feel the numbness moving upward from my eyebrows. When it reached the top of my forehead the intense pain faded to a 2-3 and I was no longer able to furrow or wrinkle my forehead.
- The next couple of days my headache was lower than usual, staying in the 2-3 range and I hoped the Botox was working. But then my headaches started getting significantly worse, culminating with a solid 7 headache on Friday. These headaches are different though. Previously my headache felt like someone was stabbing me through the temples with a red-hot ice pick. The pain was intense and piercing. Now it feels like there’s a vise on my temples and it’s cranking down, causing extreme pressure and pain from temple-to-temple and across my forehead. Is this the Botox-related headache that some people suffer from? Is this my body fighting the now-paralyzed muscles and nerves? Or is this how my headache feels when Botox is added to the mix? I don’t honestly know but I’m hoping my doctor has answers.
- My friends are really amused by my inability to move my forehead. I cannot raise my eyebrows in surprise or furrow my brow in anger no matter how hard I try. My eyebrows stay in place and my forehead remains smooth. If nothing else it’s fun to amuse people for a few minutes.
Overall I’m not yet happy with Botox because it hasn’t stopped my headaches. Yes, I have a smooth forehead that I’m unable to move, no matter how hard I try, but being able to furrow my forehead wasn’t a bad thing. I’m now over four months into dealing with a nonstop headache and as I lamented to several friends recently, I really don’t like the person I am right now. I’m cranky when I’m in this much pain and so my friends and my boyfriend bear the brunt to that. I try to keep it to myself as much as possible but I know sometimes I can’t and I am cranky and irritable and just plain bitchy. So to my friends and loved ones, thank you for putting up with me these last couple of months and hopefully the end is in sight. When I’m headache-free and able to celebrate with bubbly the drinks are on me. We’ll have earned a little celebratory toasting I think.