Anyone who has ever suffered from a migraine headache knows how utterly debilitating they can be. Frequent migraines can interupt work life, cause friction within families and even lead to depression and other emotional issues. And with the National Headache Foundation estimating that over 37 million people suffer from this condition every year, this can constitute a major health problem. Fortunately there are many treatments, such as those discussed below, that are giving migraine sufferers more chances to get relief from their condition.
1. Cefaly Headband
This new treatment, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, was found to reduce the number of days per month that patients have migraines by an impressive 30%. This headband features an electrical node which delivers impulses to the nerves that surround the eyes. Patients can use this headband for up to 20 minutes a day and some researchers believe that it will not only treat migraines but actually be able to prevent them.
2. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Many patients who experience migraines also have visual disturbances called auras, where they can see spots or zigzags of light or even have their vision dimmed. The TMS device which uses a pulse of magnetic energy for treatment can help to treat this kind of migraine. At the onset of these visual symptoms, the patient simply holds the device to the back of the head and activates. The pulse has a benefical effect on the occipital lobe and will help relieve the visual disturbances. It can be safely used once daily.
3. Zecuity Patch
Taking oral medication for migraines can be problematical at best, since migraines can sometimes freeze up the digestive system so that the body cannot absorb medications until the attack is over. This is where the battery-operated Zecuity Patch comes in useful: it is worn on the thigh or arm and can send migraine medication (Imitrex) through the skin and bypass the gastrointestinal tract altogether.
4. Tinted Glasses
For some patients who suffer from migraines accompanied by the previously mentioned visual disturbances, flare-ups can happen with something as simple as looking at certain patterns. A recent study found that tinted eyeglasses help to calm neurological activity for those who experience this kind of migraine. Researchers believe that migraines can fire up the visual cortex and that these tinted glasses tamp down that visual stress and reduce the pain. A line of such glasses is already available through Axon Optics.
While this alternative therapy still remains a matter for debate in the medical community, a recent study published in a journal by the Canadian Medical Association found that 1/2 to 3/4 of all patients reported migraine improvement after undergoing acupuncture sessions. Western medicine still isn’t sure exactly why this ancient Chinese treatment seems to help, though some theorize that it stimulates the body to release compounds which help to ease the migraine-related pain.
From high-tech and modern to ancient, all these therapies do one important thing. They give migraine sufferers more treatment options to choose from and make it more likely that they will find a treatment that works well for them and gives them relief from the sometimes agonizing migraine pain.
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