KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Botox used to treat pain, rather than lines and wrinkles.
You may have even seen recent commercials for it. More than four million people have chronic daily migraines, with at least 15 migraine days a month.
Angela Florez said she got her life back after receiving Botox injections. Florez was having more than a dozen migraines a month. The pain got so bad she called the pain management clinic at St. Luke’s in tears searching for relief.
“It definitely impacted me pretty, pretty well,” Florez said as her voice shook.
Life changed after her car was hit by a drunk driver in 2016. She went through a year of physical therapy, and although her range of motion got better, the migraines didn’t.
Florez works as a school service coordinator for a local nonprofit, and even the kids were noticing the amount of severe headaches.
“When you deal with chronic migraines, you can isolate yourself and dismiss yourself from work and just other just regular activities and leisure, and it’s tough dealing with that,” Florez said.
The pain became so unbearable she had to go on FMLA and take time off work. That’s when Dr. Jennifer Elliot offered a different option — relief through Botox.
Florez was the perfect candidate having more than 15 migraines a month lasting days at a time.
“Are you having to miss work or anything because of the headaches?” Elliot asked Florez.
“No, not at this time,” Florez responded. “Not like before.”
She said the duration and amount of her migraines have significantly decreased.
“People were getting these Botox injections done for cosmetic purposes, and they started to report that they noticed that their headaches were better,” Elliot said.
Researchers explored the idea and found that Botox paralyzes what’s called the neuro-muscular junction, which is between the nerve and muscle, so that the muscle doesn’t contract — actually treating migraines.
Florez’s injections start where she feels the most pain.
Elliot said there are 31 injection sites during one session. Patients usually come back four times a year for treatment.
“Usually after that second or third session, people will start to see a change in their headache pattern,” Elliot said.
Florez is on her tenth visit. Although skeptical at first, she’s glad she gave it a shot because it changed her life for the better.
“It’s worth it!” Florez said smiling.
After insurance, Florez said she pays about $1,700 for each session. But relief from that debilitating pain is priceless.