Chrissy Teigen made headlines last week for treating her ‘really bad pregnancy headaches’ with Botox®, a neurotoxin injection that is most commonly used in cosmetic treatments for temporarily paralyzing certain muscles in the face and neck to reduce the formation and appearance of wrinkles... So what's the story?
While Botox® is relatively well-known as a cosmetic procedure, its other medical uses are still perhaps less so. When Jennifer Coolidge in 2004's A Cinderella Story exclaims, “It’s the Botox. I can’t show emotion for another hour and a half,” it was a punchline.
Botox® even made its way into the presidential race that same year when Democratic candidate John Kerry was ‘accused’ of treating his forehead with Botox® and felt, according to The New York Times, he had to “[do] his best to furrow his brow and declare such talk nonsense.”
Thankfully, Botox® use as a disqualifier for holding elected office is not being suggested these days. In fact the demographics and market for these treatments has expanded so much in the past 2 decades that it doesn’t even seem to appear in pop-culture as the butt of many jokes either.
Yet for those people suffering with a condition that’s known and approved to be treatable with Botox®, the drug can be a life-saver.
“The theory is that a number of these conditions may be caused or affected by overly-tense or spastic muscles, leading to discomfort or other symptoms. Paralyzing or relaxing these muscles can be effective in relieving a number of these conditions,” says Dr Seth Camhi, owner and medical director at San Diego-based Votre Allure Med-Spa.
The list of medical conditions that Botox® therapeutic is known to treat is quite extensive, in fact. Chronic migraines tops a list of a number of medical conditions that Botox® may be useful in treating, according to manufacturer, Allergan’s, website (www.botox.com):
- Chronic Migraines
- Pediatric Upper Limb Spasticity (muscle stiffness in upper extremities in children)
- Adult Spasticity (muscle stiffness in arms and legs)
- Overactive Bladder
- Blepharospasm (eyelid spasms)
- Cervical Dystonia (abnormal neck position)
- Strabismus (eye muscle alignment)
- Hyperhydrosis (severe underarm sweating)
As Ms. Teigen pointed out, in her subsequent tweets, she was treated by a neurologist, and it should also be pointed out that Med Spas don’t typically treat non-cosmetic medical conditions, although some patients do report migraine relief as a "positive side-effect" when being treated for cosmetic indications.
Though Botox® may cost more than its weight in gold, as with any cosmetic product or procedure, it is not covered by insurance. But, the good news is if you are eligible for treatment for one of these therapeutic indications, your insurance very well may cover it.
So whether getting Botox® for your migraines or for your wrinkles — or your bladder or underarms for that matter — is newsworthy or not, it’s certainly worth knowing about, and it’s certainly helping out a lot of people with a lot of serious issues.