New technology aims to mitigate migraines
It looks like something an intergalactic princess would wear at her coronation, but a new device might become the first frontier of reducing an often debilitating condition.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the approval of a Belgium company to market Cefaly, the first device used as a preventative treatment for migraine headaches. The FDA’s approval of the new technology comes after reviewing a Belgian clinical study and a report of more than 2,300 patient satisfaction surveys.
A migraine headache causes a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. The attacks can last for hours or even days, and often times, sometimes lying in a dark, quiet room can alleviate or slightly dull the pain.
According to the National Institute of Health, these debilitating headaches affect approximately 10 percent of people worldwide and are three times more common in women than men.
Cefaly, a portable, headband device that runs on a battery, is an electrical nerve simulation that helps when pain is on the horizon. Placed just above the eyes, the device applies electric currents to the skin in a massaging sensation. It could be used as much as 20-minutes once a day with the pressure intensity increasing slowly throughout the session.
Dr. Ahmad recommends the first step is to monitor caffeine intake. Although caffeine is a common ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, overdoing it can cause issues with headaches and migraines as well, she says. In addition, she suggests having an active life.
“Regulating what you eat and exercising can help you discover if there are triggers in your body that are causing migraines to occur more frequently,” Dr. Ahmad says.
For those who are experimental, the device costs $325, according to the company. The theory is that those who can’t handle the full throttle pain of a migraine have an opportunity to prevent them with this new technology.
However, experts say the device is not a quick fix. On average, it takes two months to notice a reduction in migraine frequency, according to STX-Med in Herstal, the company that manufactures the product.
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