Relief for migraine sufferers thanks to small electronic device
American Migraine Foundation: Twelve percent of the population affected
The pain is intense, crippling and relentless. If you've ever had a migraine, you know how much you'd give for fast relief.
Now, a new procedure normally used to treat chronic back pain is showing promise and helping headache patients get their lives back.
For close to seven years Jenny Bruner dealt with debilitating daily migraine headaches.
"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, explained Bruner.
She met with more than a dozen doctors and tried 62 different medications, trying to get her life back.
"It's unbearable because you are not able to eat because you are nauseated all the time," said Bruner.
Bruner is one of millions of people who suffer from chronic migraines.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, twelve percent of the population is affected, and three times more women have migraines than men.
The 32-year-old Bruner traveled across country to try and find relief in something a friend found online-- a neurostimulation treatment called Transforma.
"They are somewhat skeptical that a procedure like this would work for them because they have literally been through everything," said Dr. Jack Chapman, a migraine specialist.
Here's how it works. Doctors implant tiny leads beneath the skin. They connect to a small battery pack, implanted in the lower back. The battery pack sends small electrical pulses to the areas of the head. The patient can adjust the strength of the pulses, based on the level of pain
"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," explained Chapman.
Bruner says it feels like, "you are getting kind of a massage." Some people describe it as champagne bubbles.
Bruner says this treatment changed her life. She felt better in a month, experienced fewer headaches and was actually able start living her life again; even planning a wedding.
Neurostimulation is not yet approved by the FDA for the treatment of headaches so it may not be covered by your insurance company.
For more information on migraines, click here.
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