3.3 Million Americans Live With Chronic Migraine*—Here’s Why It’s the Disease We Need to Talk About

Click here for full Indication and Important Safety Information, including Boxed Warning.

Despite the renewed focus on self care over the last year, sometimes listening to our own needs can still take a backseat. If you’re experiencing ongoing symptoms and don’t quite know what to make of them, the tendency to ignore them can be strong—especially if said symptoms match with a disease that hasn't been given much of a spotlight.

That's why it's time to say it loud, for the people in the back: Over 3 million Americans are currently living with Chronic Migraine, which isn’t your average staring-at-a-screen-all-day headache. And with the increased stress of the last year, many people are feeling the impact of exacerbated symptoms and should make an appointment with their health-care provider. "It's a neurological disease that can significantly affect patients’ day-to-day activities,” says nurse practitioner Laurel Short, DNP, FNP-C of Sunflower Medical Group, who regularly sees patients with Chronic Migraine (a disease that also affects her brother and dad) and is passionate about partnering with her patients to help manage their Chronic Migraine. “Chronic Migraine is associated with 15 or more headache days per month, and each headache day lasts four or more hours.”

But according to Short, not everyone experiences Chronic Migraine the same way. "There are a variety of symptoms—typically including unilateral throbbing headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to sound and light," she says.

For Becca Ludlum—cookbook author and creator of My Crazy Good Life—each week could be a rollercoaster of different symptoms. "For me, I would have a migraine with aura on Monday (dealing with sensitivity to light), a migraine on Tuesday all day, as well as other side effects of a migraine on Wednesday (such as tiredness or grogginess) along with my headache," Ludlum says.

It took Ludlum more than 10 years—and a lot of missed work and moments with her sons—to realize that her headaches weren't just run-of-the-mill. And she's not alone with that experience: "Many of my patients have struggled on their own with Chronic Migraine symptoms before bringing it up with their provider," says Short. "I encourage people affected by Chronic Migraine to talk to their health-care provider, ideally someone who has experience working with the disease, about how Chronic Migraine is impacting their day-to-day life."

Photo: Becca Ludlum

To start developing a personal treatment plan with your provider, Short encourages patients to keep a headache diary to record characteristics to discuss. "In addition to tracking the number of headache and migraine days, it’s also helpful to write everything down to identify potential triggers: What foods you eat, the weather, time in front of a computer, exercise regimens, and even water intake all contribute in different ways to my Chronic Migraine," Ludlum adds.

After correctly accounting for her migraine and headache days, Ludlum was finally diagnosed with Chronic Migraine.  But... what now?  "I was determined to play a more active role in my health care and actually had a brainstorming session with my doctor to think about different treatment options," she says. One of the options that piqued her interest most? BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine.

BOTOX® prevents headaches in adults with Chronic Migraine, 15 of more headache days a month, lasting 4 hours or more. It is not approved for adults with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days a month.

BOTOX® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Get medical help right away if you have any of these problems any time (hours to weeks) after injection of BOTOX®:

  • Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, can be severe and result in loss of life. You are at the highest risk if these problems are preexisting before injection. Swallowing problems may last for several months

Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

"Although I was familiar with BOTOX®, I initially resisted a bit because I was unsure of exactly what it was and if it would work," Ludlum says. Short heard similar reservations from her own patients. “However, BOTOX® prevents, on average, eight to nine headache days and migraine/probable migraine days a month (vs. six to seven for placebo)." Plus, the procedure takes about 10 minutes and you need to receive treatment every three months.

chronic migraine
Photo: Becca Ludlum

And as for Ludlum? "Of course, needles aren’t something that anyone loves, but relative to the daily migraine attacks I was having, they were manageable," she says. So what is it about the BOTOX® treatment that keeps Short's patients and Ludlum coming back to fight Chronic Migraine?

According to a survey of 71 people, 97 percent of BOTOX®️ patients plan to keep using it and 92 percent wish they had talked to their doctor and started treatment sooner.

Since Ludlum started receiving BOTOX® injections, she visits her provider every 12 weeks. "I receive 31 injections in my head and neck," she says. "That’s based on a protocol health-care providers follow to help ensure BOTOX® is injected in the same seven muscle areas of the head and neck." Once the injections are done, she goes on with her day.

"I can tell you that since I began receiving BOTOX® injections, the treatment has significantly helped me reduce my headache and migraine days each month," Ludlum says. "For me, this Chronic Migraine management plan has helped me meet my treatment goals." Consider this your PSA.

Want to learn more about BOTOX®?

BOTOX® prevents headaches and migraines before they even start. BOTOX® prevents on average, eight to nine headache days and migraine/probable migraine days a month (vs six to seven for placebo).

Does it hurt? It requires a very small needle, and most patients say that it feels like tiny pinches. What about cost? It depends on your insurance coverage, though 98 percent of commercial insurance plans cover the majority of BOTOX® costs. There’s also a BOTOX® Savings Program† that can help eligible patients with out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance.

†By participating in the BOTOX® Savings Program, you acknowledge and agree to the full Terms & Conditions set out at BOTOXSavingsProgram.com/TermsandConditions. Patients enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, or any other government-reimbursed healthcare program are not eligible. Other restrictions and maximum limits apply

BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA) Important Information

BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that is injected to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraine who have 15 or more days each month with headache lasting 4 or more hours each day in people 18 years or older.

It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe and effective to prevent headaches in patients with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days each month (episodic migraine).


BOTOX® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Get medical help right away if you have any of these problems any time (hours to weeks) after injection of BOTOX®:

∙ Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, can be severe and result in loss of life. You are at the highest risk if these problems are pre-existing before injection. Swallowing problems may last for several months

∙ Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing

There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine.

BOTOX® may cause loss of strength or general muscle weakness, vision problems, or dizziness within hours to weeks of taking BOTOX®. If this happens, do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities.

Do not receive BOTOX® if you: are allergic to any of the ingredients in BOTOX® (see Medication Guide for ingredients); had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA); have a skin infection at the planned injection site.

The dose of BOTOX® is not the same as, or comparable to, another botulinum toxin product.

Serious and/or immediate allergic reactions have been reported including itching, rash, red itchy welts, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness or feeling faint. Get medical help right away if you experience symptoms; further injection of BOTOX® should be discontinued.

Tell your doctor about all your muscle or nerve conditions such as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, as you may be at increased risk of serious side effects including difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing from typical doses of BOTOX®.

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk).

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Using BOTOX® with certain other medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you have received BOTOX® in the past.

Tell your doctor if you received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.

Other side effects of BOTOX® include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of your eyelids, dry eyes; and drooping eyebrows.

For more information refer to the Medication Guide or talk with your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see BOTOX® full Product Information including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

*Reference: AbbVie data on file.

Top photo: Getty Images/Maskot

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