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iStock_000021174301MediumNo one sympathizes more than I with do with chronic migraine sufferers.  Like many women in my family, I too have been afflicted with migraine headaches since my late teens, which means that I have been dealing with migraines for the better part of the last 30 years.

The unpredictable nature of migraine headaches can make it very difficult to plan anything. Sure, migraine sufferers make conscious efforts to avoid exposing themselves to common migraine triggers such as chocolate, caffeine, red wine, soft cheeses, nuts, lack of sleep, stress and dehydration. However even with the best efforts, no one can escape all triggers such as for example environmental barometric pressure changes, hormonal changes associated with menstrual cycles and unpredictable life stresses.

Migrainers have learned to cope with the pain and continue their daily routine despite the debilitating discomfort they experience for hours, even days at a time, but invariably some headaches will be just too aggressive.When the unrelenting pounding throb sets in despite multiple doses of pain medication, when all smells nauseate you and lights from oncoming cars or the bright outdoor sun feel like darts shooting straight through your eyes, when every sound heard is amplified even nauseating and every step resonates in your entire head, all one wants to do is seek darkness, immobility and silence. The inevitable consequence is that people living with chronic headaches end up having to cancel trips, reschedule meetings, take sick days, miss quality time with loved ones and forgo participation in hobbies. The quality of their lives are affected.

There is an exhaustive list of medication that exists for both preventing and treating migraine headaches (their description and mode of action is beyond the scope of this blog) but for some, this is not enough. Despite all these options they are still debilitated by their chronic headaches. In October 2011 another promising option was approved by Health Canada for the prevention of headaches in adults suffering from Chronic Migraines: BOTOX Therapeutic.

BOTOX Therapeutic is approved for anyone who suffers from at least 15 headache days a month, ranging from severe migraines to mild tension headaches.

BOTOX Therapeutic for Migraine does not replace all preventative medication nor does it replace the medication that one needs to take to alleviate a migraine when it does occur. But for those in whom it works well, BOTOX Therapeutic significantly decreases both the intensity and frequency of migraines and this is a big deal!

The simple treatment consists of small injections of BOTOX Therapeutic in specific muscles on the head, neck and shoulders. This is done in the office, is comfortable to receive, only takes 10-15 minutes to administer and only needs to be done every 3 months.

Studies have shown that 70% of patients receiving BOTOX Therapeutic for their chronic headaches benefit from a 50% reduction in intensity and frequency.  I have actually observed better results than this in my own clinical practice. Close to 100% of my patients report a significant decrease in migraine frequency and that when they have headaches, they are much more manageable. They report an overall better quality of life.

BOTOX Therapeutic treatment is affordable and covered by most private medical insurance.

BOTOX Therapeutic is by no means a miracle cure, but is a worth while treatment alternative, that can be used alone or in combination with other therapies to prevent headaches in adults with Chronic Migraines.

If you or someone you know suffers form chronic or migraine headaches, BOTOX Therapeutic might be the solution for you.

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