Monday, 30 November 2015

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Cumbrian migraine sufferer can head back to work after Botox treatment

A woman will be able to “be a mum” after pioneering Botox treatment is helping her husband return to work.

Botox photo
Steven Howes receives Botox treatment from Yogendra Jagatsinh

Steven Howes, of Fletchertown, near Aspatria, has been forced to live with extreme headaches every day for almost 15 years.

It left him unable to work, and so he became a full-time dad to his two children, while his wife Rebecca went out to work.

Pioneering treatment at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary has made a “dramatic difference” though, and Steven is retraining to be a primary school teacher.

On Christmas Eve 1998, the now 33-year-old was the victim of an unprovoked axe attack.

“I was hit across the forehead with an axe so my brain was exposed,” he said. “I lived in Sunderland at the time and began getting severe headaches.

“Then, in 2000, I was working on a farm and was underneath a bridge, waist-deep in a river. There was a tractor on the bridge, with a metal winch on it. The hydraulic system failed and the metal winch fell 20ft and landed on top of my head.”

Fortunate to survive not one but two horrific head injuries, Steven was left with chronic post-injury migraines.

He added: “I’m the full-time parent for Jack, six, and two-year-old Annabelle, while Rebecca works.

“The headaches used to get so bad she would have to drop everything to come home and look after the kids because I wasn’t capable. No medication worked.”

When Yogendra Jagatsinh, consultant in rehabilitation medicine at the infirmary, said he would try anything.

The treatment, most commonly known for its use in cosmetic surgery, had already been used for people with spasticity, (muscle spasms) and dystonia, (a neurological disorder) but was only NICE approved for use with chronic migraines in May.

“We are the first hospital in Cumbria to offer it on the NHS and I have used it on six patients: every one of them has seen a very good improvement,” Mr Jagatsinh said.

Steven receives 30 to 40 injections in his head, neck and shoulders every 12 weeks, and said the response has been phenomenal. “It has completely transformed my life,” he added. “I started treatment in July and my wife has not had to take a single day off work since then.

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a few years, but never dreamed I’d even be able to do the training.”

Steven added: “We want another child, and the plan now is that I will be teaching and Rebecca will get to be a full-time mum. She’s the best mum she can be, but I know she missed out on a lot and she wants to be more involved.”

Chronic migraine is when a person has had a headache on 15 or more days every month for at least three months, with migraines on at least eight of these days.

The Botox treatment works by blocking pain signals and also reduces other symptoms of migraine, including tension headache.


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