Botox for migraines: If it works for Canada, it works for me

December 2, 2011

If you live in Canada, your migraines may be caused by the Chinook winds rippling down the mountains.
If you live in Canada, your migraines may be caused by the Chinook winds rippling down the mountains.

No one would accuse Canada of being the beauty capital of the world or a center for alternative medical treatments. So now that their federal health agency, Health Canada, has endorsed Botox for migraine treatment, it’s time for migraine sufferers to take Botox seriously.

No matter where you come from, Botox is expensive. A patient treated with Botox for headaches can expect to pay about $400 every three to five months. Now that Health Canada has approved Botox for migraines, it’s likely that some kind of insurance coverage for this treatment will follow.

The reason why Canada is paying so much attention to headaches is that Canada has a special problem. Canada is home of the Chinook, which sounds like a furry animal, but is actually a warm Rocky Mountain wind that rushes over the Rocky Mountains, sweeping across Alberta from fall to spring, making heads pound. A study comparing headache diaries of 75 migraine sufferers with daily weather records in Alberta, Canada found that Chinook winds do, in fact, trigger migraines right before they occur and when they blow more than 24 mph.

The weather/migraine connection may serve as an affirmation to many migraine sufferers. In the not so distant past, migraines were frequently associated with a neurotic temperament or a troubled personality. Now, you can stop blaming it on your childhood. Similar to allergies, migraines have triggers and the Chinook is now part of the list.

But, if you have occasional mild headaches but chronic wrinkles, don’t use the headaches as an excuse for getting Botox. Canadian neurologist, Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, tells the Calgary Herald, November 15, 2011, “Like all pain treatments, Botox should only be used with care. In somebody who’s having at least 15 days a month with migraine, this is a potential therapy for them.”

Botox approval for chronic migraines was based on data collected in an Allergan study of about 1,400 adults in randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trials demonstrating that it was an effective migraine treatment. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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