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Not just for wrinkles: How Botox is helping ease migraine pain

Botox for migraines?
WATCH ABOVE: A growing number of people with chronic migraines are finding relief from an unlikely source, botox. Heather Yourex-West reports.

Charlotte Livesey has spent years living in almost constant pain. Diagnosed with migraine headaches at the age of 12, the Calgary woman was spending several weeks of each month bed ridden by the time she was a young adult.

“It kind of destroys everything. You can’t work. I wasn’t working, going out became extremely difficult.”

Livesey says she tried a number of different medications prescribed to both treat the pain of migraines and prevent their onset but nothing seemed to work for her, until she tried Botox.

“I went from 25 migraines to about one a month. It changed everything.”

Calgary neurosurgeon, Dr. Deon Louw says Botox therapy is best suited for chronic migraine sufferers.

READ MORE: Why migraines may be affecting you when the weather changes dramatically 

“If you have headache days of two weeks or more in a month – in other words, 15 days in which eight are migraines – you have chronic migraines as opposed to episode migraines and you’re a candidate [for Botox therapy].”
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A major clinical trial published in 2010 found chronic migraine patients treated with Botox experienced fewer headaches with little to no side effects.

Patients are treated every 12 weeks with a series of 31 injections to the forehead, temples, the back of the head, the back of the neck and the back of the shoulders. The therapy is not covered by Alberta Health but it is covered by many extended health benefits plans including Alberta Blue Cross.