Botox an Unexpected Treatment for Migraine Sufferers

Botox is famous for smoothing out wrinkles, but did you know it's also FDA approved to treat migraine headaches?

"Botulinum toxin is a bacterial protein that blocks chemicals responsible for muscle contractions and pain," explains Engin Yilmaz, M.D., board-certified neurologist who uses the treatment on migraine patients. "Since last fall, Botox has been approved to treat chronic migraine sufferers – people who suffer from headaches 15 or more days per month with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer."

Betty Ratulowski of Justice is one of them. The 39-yearold single mom has endured debilitating migraines at least three times a week for the last several years. Countless times, she has sought pain relief in a hospital emergency department.

"I have two children, and I would rather go through natural childbirth for 24 hours straight than have a migraine," she explains. "It felt like someone was beating me in the head with a hammer. I was sensitive to light. I had major nausea. I felt paralyzed."

More than 14 million people experience migraine attacks nearly every day, and attacks typically last from four to 72 hours. The causes of migraines aren't fully understood, and oral medications, while helpful for some, leave others like Betty still suffering.

One day in early 2011 while she was watching TV, she saw a commercial about Botox for migraines. She immediately made some calls, and was referred to Dr. Yilmaz at Ingalls.

"When I heard the FDA had approved Botox for migraines, I had to give it a try," she explained.

After just one treatment with Dr. Yilmaz, she immediately felt better. She will continue to have Botox treatments every three or four months – with each treatment expected to produce more effective, longer-lasting results.

"When I woke up that first morning after the treatment, I wanted to kiss the ground," she added. "It was like a miracle. Migraines controlled my life for so long. I finally feel as if I've gotten it back. I've told everyone I know about the treatment!"

Watch an online interview of Dr. Yilmaz at www. Ingalls.org/ProgressVideo.

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