Starting in 2017, Kynesha Swain began suffering from severe migraine headaches that lasted up to four hours. The debilitating headaches would send her to bed, or to the quiet and darkness of her walk-in closet in search of relief.
Kynesha’s headaches were so severe they caused nausea and vomiting. She even stopped driving after dark to avoid the glare of oncoming headlights.
“Anything could trigger it,” Kynesha said.
Over the years, she tried several migraine treatments. The most effective treatment for Kynesha was seemingly the most unlikely: Botox.
Kynesha’s neurology specialist Dr. William Conte explained that muscle tension can sometimes trigger migraine pain. Botox treatments relax those muscles to help ease the trigger and block the release of pain chemicals.
“In Kynesha’s case, it worked,” said Dr. Conte. “There are a lot of good medicines for migraines and Botox is one tool. Finding the right medicine for a specific patient can take some time.”
Dr. Conte explained there are two paradigms in treating migraines, abortive and preventative treatments. Botox is considered a preventative treatment. People who suffer a certain number of migraines a week or month should be on preventative medicine.
“But it’s really the combination between the abortive and preventative treatments that seems to do the trick,” said Dr. Conte. “The idea is to help the severity as well as the frequency of the headaches.”
Dr. Conte cautioned that it’s sometimes impossible to achieve total freedom from pain, but that pain relief can be reached.
Many people think of migraines as severe headaches only, however, they can occur as a constellation of symptoms. These symptoms may include visual changes, numbness, weakness, cognitive fogging, motion sickness, dizziness and others.
“You don’t have to have a headache to have a migraine,” Dr. Conte said.
Kynesha said she suffered from migraines for several years without knowing what they were. She took various over-the-counter medications including sinus, allergy and headache remedies.
Now, Swain takes regular Botox injections along with other migraine medications.
“I was doing a lot of work from home because of the driving, especially at night,” Kynesha said. “Now I’m able to return to the office.”
“I also learned that it’s always best to avoid self-diagnosing on the Internet, and to seek professional medical intervention instead,” she added. “Follow the directions of your medications, don’t have any lapses in treatment and manage your stress levels.”
William Conte, MD, is a board certified Methodist Physician Group neurologist. Call 219-738-4926.