Botox® treatments free a mother from a life of migraines

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Amanda Garvin from Morgantown leads a busy life. When she isn’t working teaching art to children or running her photography business, she is spending time with her husband and daughter. When migraine headaches started affecting her ability to do these things, she knew it was time to talk to a doctor.

Amanda Garvin with her husband and daughter.
Amanda Garvin with her husband and daughter.

“Migraines were not only disrupting my life, but they were disrupting my immediate family’s life, my husband and my daughter,” Garvin said. “But more than that, they interrupted what we could do with extended family - things with grandma were postponed because mommy wasn’t feeling well. The migraines were definitely causing a lot of problems.”

She was treating her migraines with over-the-counter medications and ice packs, but when she passed out in a convenience store while getting a cup of coffee, she decided to seek help.

“I decided to go with WVU Medicine because, prior to this, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a high-risk pregnancy, and I transferred from an outside hospital and to WVU Medicine to deal with complications. My care was handled flawlessly,” Garvin said. “I knew when I had a severe issue, this was the place to be.”

Garvin saw Umer Najib, M.D., neurologist at the WVU Medicine Headache Center. He prescribed medication to treat Garvin’s headaches, but the side effects caused nausea and other problems. After six months of these treatments, Dr. Najib suggested using Botox® to treat her migraines.

“Botox to treat migraine sounded very foreign to me,” Garvin said. “It sounded very scary, a very serious route. But, I quickly realized I had a very serious problem, and I needed to start thinking about this. Dr. Najib was fantastic. He walked me through every question that my family and I had about this treatment. He answered the same question probably 30 times until I felt comfortable enough with the answers.”

When Botox is used to treat migraine, it is injected around pain fibers that cause the headaches. It enters the nerve endings around where it is injected and blocks the release of the chemicals that transmit pain, preventing the activation of pain networks in the brain. It can take up to three weeks to start to see results from the treatment, and most patients experience more relief after their second treatment. The injections are given in a doctor’s office every three months.

“About two and a half weeks in, I started to notice that I didn’t need a lot of the emergency medications that you take when a migraine hits,” Garvin said. “I started using those a lot less. Then after the second round of treatments, I didn’t take any prescription medication. I started only taking over-the-counter medication, and even those weren’t necessary after a few weeks.”

Now that Garvin’s life isn’t interrupted by migraines, she is able to get back to the things that matter to her. She said she is able to attend her daughter’s softball games and teach art classes. She no longer has to take time away from her photography business because of pain.

“I’m very thankful to Dr. Najib,” Garvin said. “I feel 100 percent better and it is freeing to not be in pain or worry about missing out on my life anymore.