Migraine headaches are one of the most common problems seen in emergency rooms and physician offices. These pounding, throbbing headaches affect about 36 million Americans with the pain lasting from a few hours to a few days.
View slideshow: Alternative options for migraine headaches
There now may be hope for the millions that endure these headaches as headache specialists around the United Kingdom reveal encouraging results from a new treatment in the form of a hand-held device that transmits brief magnetic pulses to the back of the head reducing 73% of pain within three months. This new therapy called neurostimulation comes from a device by eNeura Therapeutics a California based company.
This new device costs about £500 or 245 U.S. dollars, is portable and about the size of a radio. This device is placed on the back of the head and with a push of a button sends a brief magnetic pulse to the brain.
The results from a trial of sixty participants had revealed promising results with 53% reporting a reduction in headaches in a few days.
One British participant Andy Bloor said “The key for me was using the device quickly, as soon as the migraine started. When I did, it stopped the migraine in its tracks. The plus of the device is it reduces my reliance on strong drugs.”
The results from the trial were presented at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in London.
Dr. Fayyaz Ahmed, MB, BS, MD, FRCP, Neurologist Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and chairs the British Association for the Study of Headaches, stated according to the Daily Mail “We think neurostimulation is the future in treating headache disorders, particularly if it is non-invasive. “
“A significant proportion of migraine sufferers either do not respond or are unable to tolerate available oral treatments.”
“Now TMS will provide them with an alternative to deal with their disabling migraines and be able to continue with their activities of daily living.”
The findings of the trial were published online March 2010 in The Lancet Neurology.
The trial had noted that this device is used in the aura phase and may reduce or eliminate the need for medications and no serious side effects have been associated to the device.
Ohio State University researchers conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) device.
Their trial included 52 patients, who have migraine with aura from two headache centers. Among the patients 296 had been treated with TMS and 19 with a placebo device that did not transmit a pulse.
At the first sign of a migraine patients had been instructed to report to the clinic. Depending on what group they were in they had received treatment.
All patients record their responses during the 24 hour period before and after treatment.
The results revealed 69% of the TMS group no longer had painful migraine or only mildly painful for two hours after treatment. Also, reported by the TMS group; 84% had no noise sensitivity, 64% no light sensitivity and 88% no nausea.
The device was recently approved in Europe and will be available there this summer. There is no word on when the FDA will act upon the application for approval in the United States, and the device cannot be prescribed or sold in the U.S. until it’s approved by the FDA, according to Migraine.com.
Information on Migraines can be found online at the American Migraine Foundation.