Podcast Episode 7: It’s Not All in Your Head

podcast 7
As of January 2024, the Migraine Research Foundation estimates that more than 39 million Americans live with migraines. One of those people is Hot Springs resident, Jennifer.

Around six years ago, Jennifer had a spinal injury.

“I was in a magic show and I disappeared and I landed on a cinder block on my L5. I was performing and I was in the bright lights and I couldn't see, I started getting the auras and spots and I didn't realize that that was part of a migraine. That was my first symptom was the vision changes,” said Jennifer, ”and then I got the headache that came along with it. Since then I've had them reoccurring. I mean, almost every day I have some sort of headache, they can be different, they can change, but it became chronic.”

Jennifer said her headaches would last around four days and then she sometimes will get another one right afterwards. It’s not just the headaches, she said she experienced depression, anxiety, insomnia and food aversions.

Her doctor put her on medication, but after dealing with side effects and little improvement, she was referred to Dr. Kara Way at the CHI St. Vincent Neurology Clinic in Hot Springs.

Dr. Way suggested Botox for Jennifer’s migraines. Jennifer now goes about every 12 weeks to get 31 injections around the eyes, throughout the head and back into her shoulders. 

“I actually like the feeling of it. It doesn't hurt me. I instantly feel some of that pressure just released just from the needles going in,” said Jennifer.

She continued to say that after about a week, the pain goes away. She also said if a slight headache begins, it goes away in about five minutes.

“I know that medicine is working and when it wears off, I get really bad migraines again. So I know that that is making a big difference,” said Jennifer.

She said it’s wonderful to have her personality back and be able to be herself again.

“You can live your life. Botox for migraine helps me move forward and just plan things, plan trips, plan work and not feel that there's something in the way or something's going to happen,” said Jennifer.

While the treatment has proven to be successful for Jennifer’s migraines, she is still having numbness in her leg. Jennifer said this is difficult to deal with as a dance teacher. Dr. Way is looking into what may be causing all of these symptoms and Jennifer is going to go back soon for another MRI. 

“Sometimes you suffer in silence and you think what is happening, what's the point in this? But I believe if we talk about these issues and discuss them, it can really cause some healing for some people,” said Jennifer.