Neurostimulation uses light electrical currents to activate or modulate neurons. Physicians and medical researchers have successfully used the approach for more than 40 years, and now are able to use neurostimulation to treat chronic migraine pain. For migraine sufferers who have not found relief with prescription migraine medications or other treatments, neurostimulation can be a long-term solution.
WHAT IS NEUROSTIMULATION
“Neuro” is Greek for “nerve.” Neurostimulation is the practice of applying gentle stimulation to nerves that have been identified as sending strong, frequent pain signals. When stimulated, the nerves stop communicating the pain signal. The theory of neurostimulation, published in 1965, proposed that nerve fibers provide information from two types of stimuli: one is pain, and the other is a combination of touch, pressure or vibration.
This theory of neurostimulation was confirmed in a surgical procedure in 1971, and has been used heavily to treat a wide range of symptoms since over the last 40 years. It has been successfully used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including spinal injuries, back pain and epilepsy.
The first recorded use of neurostimulation actually dates back to 46 A.D. when Roman Emperor Claudius’ physician used currents from a torpedo fish to treat headaches.
HOW NEUROSTIMULATION TREATS MIGRAINE PAIN
The modern use of neurostimulation to treat migraine pain began with implanted spinal cord stimulators in cases where conservative treatments or corrective surgery have not been able to provide relief from back or neck pain. In these cases, a physician implants a small battery under the skin. The battery is connected to thin wires that are placed under the skin to stimulate the nerves in the spinal cord that are sending debilitating pain signals.
The physicians that were using spinal cord stimulators noticed that the neurostimulation was helping to treat migraine pain, too. MTCA’s Dr. Kelly Will and three other physicians began clinical research specifically to determine whether strategic placement of the wires, at the base of the head and in the forehead, could effectively treat chronic migraine pain. They found that approximately 80% of patients with chronic migraine respond to neurostimulation, and for those patients, the implanted neurostimulator has typically reduced between 80% and 100% of their chronic migraine pain. Their research was published in the International Headache Society’s 2010 issue of Cephalalgia, titled “Combined occipital and supraorbital neurostimulation for the treatment of chronic migraine headaches: initial experience.”
THE OMEGA MIGRAINE PROCEDURE
MTCA partner physicians are experienced in the Omega migraine procedure, which uses an implanted neurostimulator to stimulate the supraorbital and/or occipital nerves, in order to stop chronic migraine pain. Read about the Omega procedure including typical experience, risks and benefits, and patient testimonials.
MTCA partner physicians provide a range of medical procedures to treat chronic migraine pain. To determine whether you are a candidate for a medical procedure and to speak to a pain specialist, call (855) 300-6822 or fill out the contact form on this page.