Pick Your Poison

Remedies are coming from unexpected places.

It turns out that the toxin that’s changed a million faces has a social conscience after all. The wonders of Botox, a concentrated form of botulinum toxin, have been touted ad nauseam: By paralyzing facial muscles, it was smoothing out Hollywood’s wrinkles long before the FDA approved it, in 2002. But now doctors are experimenting with its ability to reduce pain transmission through the nervous system. Botox has not yet proved to be effective for arthritis, but it has produced impressive results in treating migraine headaches and chronic neck pain. One recent study of 24 migraine sufferers showed that 18 of them experienced a significant decrease in pain for up to six months after Botox injections. And if injecting botulinum isn’t for you, just wait: Researchers in Brazil are now studying the use of rattlesnake venom as a pain reliever.

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