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Is Migraine Relief a Shot Away?

For people who suffer from migraines, the disruptive headaches can be more than just a pain.

Dr. Emily Senay spoke with The Early Show on May 24 about some treatments for migraines, and one that comes from a surprising source--the world of cosmetic surgery.

"It doesn't stop, and it just hurts. It really hurts," says migraine sufferer Donna Burack. To find relief, Burack has taken part in a new treatment.

Injections of Botox, which is derived from the poisonous bacterium that causes botulism, have been found to reduce wrinkles in the skin. Burack has had Botox injected into her head, and the migraines have subsided.

New York dermatologist Alan Kling says it's not clear why migraines are helped by Botox, but it may be that the minute amounts of bacteria used in the shots relax muscles. In dangerous amounts, botulism bacteria cause muscular paralysis.

Before Botox, Burack would have at least three severe migraines a month. Now her life is less painful. "I can function like a normal human being," Burack says. "No headaches, less nausea."

Senay says that the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved Botox as a migraine treatment, and that it should only be considered by people who have had no success with the newest migraine drugs.

The first step for people with recurring headaches should be a trip to the doctor. "If you have headaches, you really need to see a headache specialist and get them sorted out," Senay says.

On May 25, The Early Show's HealthWatch segment will continue to look at headaches, with a report on tension headaches.
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