Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, often called migraines. For many of these people, traditional pain relievers offer little to no relief. Fortunately, there are some new, innovative migraine treatment options. Find out about the top five new migraine treatments that are available today.
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block
A new treatment that offer immediate pain relief for many people with migraines is the sphenopalatine ganglion block. The sphenopalatine ganglion is a bundle of nerves that lies at the back of the throat, below the base of the brain. The doctor passes a tiny catheter through the nasal opening and positions it near the nerve bundle. Lidocaine or another anesthetic is injected onto the nerves to offer immediate effects.
In a recent study, researchers noted an 88% success rate with the sphenopalatine ganglion block, with patients reporting less need for pain medication for several months. Although the lidocaine does wear off with time, the procedure deactivates (dampens) the neurological trigger that produces migraines.
According to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, a technique used in cosmetic eye surgery is helping many migraine sufferers find pain relief. This technique involves insertion of a small endoscope below the scalp and behind the eyelid. This decompresses the nerves that trigger migraine attaches.
In a recent study, the efficacy rate for this procedure was 90%, with patients reporting that their headaches disappeared. Not all patients are eligible for this cosmetic procedure for migraines. Factors that inhibit someone’s eligibility include inexperience of the doctor, the patient’s anatomy, and serious health conditions.
Magnets have been used to treat migraine headaches for decades, but the eNeura Spring TMS device has perfected the technique. This unit soothes migraines by sending magnetic pulses into the brain tissue. The Spring TMS works by using a coil that is placed on the scalp. Magnetic waves are emitted from the device to penetrate the skull. These impulses interfere with other impulses that are associated with migraines.
At present, the FDA-approved Spring TMS is used in offices, but home use is a possibility. The treatment only takes a minute, and offers immediate results. Monthly treatments are recommended for prevention of headaches, and they cost around $250.
Social Media Therapy
While it may sound far-fetched, social media can help people experiencing migraines. Researchers have found that patients who tweet or post about their feelings actually experience a reduction in headache pain. University of Michigan scientists analyzed more than 20,000 tweets from persons who suffered from regular migraines. They found that patient venting on social media helped them feel better.
According to experts, venting on social media helps patients use the parts of the brain that are related to thinking and emotion. These brain regions are also involved in pain perception. Regular use of the brain areas in question contributed to decreased feelings of pain.
Botulinum toxin A (Botox) was first used to treat wrinkles. Doctors discovered that patients who suffered frequent migraine headaches reported that their headaches were fewer and less severe when they got Botox injections. The solution is injected across the forehead, temples, and around the eyes every three months.
When botulinum toxin enters the gastrointestinal system, it produces food poison. However, the toxin injected into the skin does not make the patient sick. Instead, it paralyzes nerves and blocks the release of acetylcholine, a substance that inhibits nerve signal transmission. This also prevents muscles from contracting, leading to a relaxed muscle state.