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Botox Erasing Migraines: February 11, 2014

Page Boothby has spent a lifetime on the edge, never knowing when she might be sidelined by a migraine.

“They have ruled my life since I was 19. I would have to go to bed, anything I smelled, anything I ate, I would vomit, I would have to have the room dark,” says Boothby.

Headaches could last for days, forcing her to work through the pain.

“When people say they have a headache they have no idea what a headache is. They have absolutely no idea,” says Boothby.

Boothby tried acupuncture, biofeedback, even massage to calm the storm in her brain. Like many fellow sufferers, she’s on a series of meds.

“They usually start with over-the-counter and then move to prescription medications and then we give them a trial of either blood pressure medicine, a seizure medicine, or an anti-depressant,” says Dr. Wendy Bond, neurologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

It was a depressing situation.

“I said I’ll try anything, if it gives me relief I’ll try it,” says Boothby.

“She was so desperate at that point. I had tried every single medication on her and none of them were working. It was significantly affecting her life, and I tried the Botox on her,” says Dr. Bond.

Erasing migraines, not wrinkles- just another medical use for Botox. It’s approved to treat everything from excessive sweating to plantar fasciitis and overactive bladder. When it comes to migraines many patients find the toxin-filled needles replace the knife and dagger in their head.

Research suggests the purified Botox toxin affects pain neurotransmitters, resulting in reduced rate and severity of migraines.

“For migraine headaches we do seven sites - 31 injections into the shoulder, the neck, both sides of the head and across the forehead,” says Dr. Bond.

“I have noticed a big decrease having it. It’s another line of defense. And I notice when it starts to wear off my headaches start to increase,” says Boothby.

As with frown lines, injections must be repeated to make headaches disappear.