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.
- 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
- 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
- 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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