Migraine relief: “It’s been great”

Archive, August, Month

A chronic migraine sufferer shares her experience starting Botox treatments.

Migraines had been a part of Jenna’s life since the time she was in third grade.

While a headache is annoying, migraines are debilitating, leaving sufferers with intense pain and symptoms of dizziness, nausea and sensitivity to light, sound, tastes and smells.

And for Jenna, now a full-time working mother, migraine pain can leave her debilitated when she can’t afford the time to be down for any extended period. And with her migraines attacking once or twice a week, that time was adding up.

“I had done preventive medication and relief medication,” she said. “The prevention medication was somewhat helpful, but I would still be wiped out for the day.”

For a couple years, Jenna had been in the care of McLaren Macomb neurologist Dr. Alex Steinbock, so when he approached her with his suggestion of using Botox as a treatment method to manage her migraines, she was inclined to trust him and his recommendation.

“Migraines are the most common complaint I get from my patients,” Dr. Steinbock said. “Chronic headaches can really hamper anyone’s overall quality of life, and as the frequency and severity of these occurrences increase, the more debilitating the results can be.”

He had recently expanded his practice to include Botox as a treatment for migraines. Known commonly for its use in cosmetic procedures, regular Botox injections have been an established treatment method for the management of chronic migraines.

Botox blocks the brain’s pain network from activating by entering nerve endings and inhibiting the release of chemicals that transmit pain.

Says Dr. Steinbock, “To now have a safe, proven treatment that will have a lasting impact on them is an advantage for everyone.”

For Jenna, she was admittedly a little nervous at the thought of shots in the head, but she started to do some research and, with trust in her doctor, decided to give it a try in the spring of 2022.

“The first appointment went very smooth,” she said. “Dr. Steinbock made sure I was comfortable, and he explained everything, including how I would feel before, during and after.”

Appointments last for about 15 minutes, and Jenna would need follow-up injections every six weeks.

In her research, she learned that it’s an average of three sessions before patients begin to experience the full benefits of the treatments, the aim of which is to eliminate the painful effects of the headaches.

“But after the first session,” she recalled, “you may still get headaches, but they’re not as severe.”

Jenna also received injections in her shoulders to relieve the headache-causing tension she can often hold, a common trigger point.

“It’s been great,” she said. “I’ll be keeping up with these therapies.”