A New Device For Migraine Headaches

Migraine sufferers have to endure severe, debilitating headaches that usually last between 4 to 72 hours. The throbbing and usually unilateral headaches according to the World Health Organization inconvenience around 10 percent of adults around the globe. The symptoms associated with the migraine headaches may differ for each individual but the most common being reported are nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to sound, light and motion.

Migraine treatment plans typically involve medications and lifestyle changes such as omitting certain foods in the diet (for example cheese and wine). But these plans simply treat the condition and not cure it. Some individuals find little comfort in the medications being prescribed by their physicians. The treatment options are somehow few.

In Europe however, a new neurostimulation device has been approved. The device helps treat migraine headaches by “stimulating nerves at the base of the head with electrical pulses, which seems to block pain signals from reaching the brain.” Mild electrical pulses are delivered to the occipital nerves that are just beneath the skin of the back of one’s head. The device was invented by St. Jude Medical which is based in Little Canada. Either a single or several small electrical leads are placed under the skin. These are then connected to the neurostimulator; this produces the stimulation.

The study conducted to determine the effect of the device involved 157 patients who had serious chronic migraine attacks. Around 27 percent of the patients reported that the number of headaches that they experienced decreased. However, more than half of the patients (53 %) said that they rank their relief to be excellent or good. Compared to a placebo group, only 17 % reported the same.

The device has not been approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. The reason behind it was a lack of evidence that the device really does work.