TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Lori Barr calls the 15 years she spent battling migraines a struggle.
Barr says she'd spend four or five days a week, all day, wanting to sleep or just sit in a dark, quiet room. The pain made it difficult to go to her children's games, play with them outdoors or do chores around the house.
Barr tried several medications, even massage therapy. Nothing helped until she heard about a new wrinkle in migraine treatment - botox.
Dr. Babak Marefat explains that a migraine is, essentially, a cramping of a small collection of vessels. The botox works to paralyze the muscles around the vessels, thereby reducing the cramping and reducing the chance for a headache.
Marefat has offered the treatment for about a year now at Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Clinic. It's approved for people who suffer 15 or more migraine headache days a month, lasting at least four hours a day.
Marefat says treatment involves a series of 31 total injections, placed along the forehead, the side of the head, the base of the skull and both sides of the neck. In most people, it reduces the frequency or intensity of the headaches and, in some, it eliminates the headaches altogether.
Barr had her first treatment in April. She says she had one migraine right afterward, but has been pain free - and medication free - since. Barr says she and her family are now on the go more often, not worried about whether a headache might crop up and ruin the next soccer match or dance recital.
Treatments can be repeated no more frequently than every three months, but Marefat says they've been shown to be effective for that amount of time in most people. Botox may not be effective in people whose migraines develop in deeper blood vessels or vessels on the inside of the skull.