Implant To Pull The Plug On Migraine Pain

implant to cut off pain

 

Implant That Cuts Off Pain (1)

Another hand-me-down tool in the pain management kit for migraineurs but one that shows promise for the chronic migraineur. Patients who have tried almost all routes to seek relief from popping in painkillers and taking prescription opoids, having botox injected, trying hypnosis and biofeedback as well as other alternative therapies like shiastu and autogenic training but have turned to the doctor dismayed with the results now have hope. There appears to be one last technique/tool that some doctors may suggest to such patients. It is not meant for all migraineurs and is suggested on a case to case basis. It is yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The device was designed for patients of chronic back pain. But now it is holding hope for migraineurs who have tried everything and have no other corner to turn. According to Jenny Bruner who had been dealing with the onslaught of pain for many years, “I went to a neurologist. I was hospitalized. Then they put me on preventative medicines.  We tried acupuncture, even botox. I tried biofeedback, and nothing was working. I didn’t see any hope.  It was so frustrating just living in constant pain. It’s unbearable because you are not able to eat because you are nauseated all the time.” (2) During her years with the neurological disease she tried as many as 62 different medications with little or no help from any.

However, she did in the course come across a management technique involving neuro-stimulation. The treatment was called Transforma and it gave her considerable relief like no other technique or medication had.

The system involved the implantation of tiny leads just below the skin. These sub-cutaneous leads are connected to a battery pack. This battery is implanted in the lower back of the patients. The battery sends electrical pulses of very low voltage to the areas of the brain that process pain and is involved in pain signalling. The beauty of the system is that the migraineur can adjust the voltage strength according to her/his needs or the level of pain being experienced in a migraine episode. The electrical pulses feel like a mild massage.

According to migraine specialist Dr. Jack Chapman, “We are turning on a small electrical signal to the nerve to basically shut off or change that nerves transmission of the pain that people interpret as a headache.” (3) To Bruner, this has been a life-changing treatment. She has retrieved bits of life that she had to let go off.

SOURCES

  1. Image Credit: Asian Girl With Headache; tokyoboy; Freedigitalphotos.net; web October 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthcare_g355-Asian_Girl_With_Headache_p86098.html
  2. Relief for migraine sufferers thanks to small electronic device; ClickOrlando.com; Web October 2013; http://www.clickorlando.com/news/relief-for-migraine-sufferers-thanks-to-small-electronic-device/-/1637132/22282540/-/t3xan8z/-/index.html
  3. New treatment helping people with migraines; WNDU.com; Web October 2013; http://www.wndu.com/news/specialreports/headlines/New-treatment-helping-people-with-migranes-226347731.html

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Acupuncture: A ‘Yes’ or A ‘No’ For Migraineurs?

This post has been drawn from Medicine News Today for the benefit of migraineurs:

In order to find out the effect of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in treating migraines, a team of investigators carried out a randomized controlled human trial. 480 individuals at 9 hospitals in China who experienced migraines for over one year, with two or three migraines in the 3 months prior to the investigation, were enrolled to participate in the study.


The researchers randomly assigned the volunteers to four groups. Those in one group received sham acupuncture, while participants in the other three groups received different types of acupuncture. Their ages ranged from 18 to 65 years.

In the United States and England, migraines affect approximately 16% to 18% of women and 6% to 8% of men. Evidence on how effective acupuncture is at treating migraines is mixed, as some studies suggest it is the placebo effect, instead of a therapeutic effect that relieves symptoms. Acupuncture distinguishes between real acupuncture points and non-acupuncture (sham) points.

Dr. Fan-rong Liang, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China, explains: “We found that the outcomes following acupuncture were significantly better than with sham acupuncture during weeks 13-16, but the effect was clinically minor.”
After 16 weeks, approximately half to three-quarters of participants were better after sham acupuncture and proper acupuncture. The researchers said: “Acupuncture has a large effect on treating migraines, but the specific therapeutic effect may be minor.”
In an associated commentary, Dr. Albrecht Molsberger, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany and the University of North Carolina, explains that according to previous evidence, acupuncture helps treat severe migraine attacks.

Molsberger explains: “On the basis of the existing evidence, acupuncture should be an option for the first-line treatment of migraine to supplement other non-pharmacologic treatment options.”
In a second randomized controlled trial, investigators in the Netherlands enrolled 490 patients from 64 general practices, 233 of them attended consultations to assess treatment of their migraines, as well as 257 in the control group. The researchers set out to examine whether a proactive approach by primary care physicians to patients with suboptimal migraine treatment would result in improvements.

In the Netherlands, only 8% to 12% of all patients with migraines used prophylaxis, while a considerable amount of individuals used too much medication for migraine attacks.

Even though more individuals took prescription medication to prevent migraines as a result of the approach, the researchers observed no clinically relevant effect after six months.

Dr. Antonia Smelt, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, with co-authors, explained: “We found no clinically relevant effect of a proactive approach to migraine in primary care for patients who were using two or more doses of triptan per month.”

The researchers conclude:
“It is possible that the intervention resulted in better treatment for patients not using prophylactic medication at baseline who had two or more attacks of migraine per month. Future interventions in primary care should target these patients.”

 

SOURCE:

Migraine – The Enigma Of Trial Results; Grace Rattue; Medical News Today; January 2012; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/240139.php