Everybody may experience a headache at some point in their lives. For all those who suffer from migraine, this pain can be debilitating. For the 65 million people in the US who suffer from migraines, and many millions more around the world, relief can be hard to come by. Traditional medications offer no relief and more potent ones, such as opiods, are completely powerful against brutal migraine headaches. Fortunately, some researchers have found good headway recently finding many new treatment options for people suffering from migraines. Here, we will have a close look at potent new migraine treatments on the horizon, and how they can benefit you.
Patients now opt for interventional pain management options
If you’re a migraine patient, you can try a diagnostic procedure called medial branch block to see if any relief can be achieved. If this works, relief can be rapid, and you should be able to return to your daily activities fast. While medial branch block may not guarantee you lasting relief, a temporary relief is possible from the block, and your pain physician may recommend you a new migraine treatment known as radiofrequency ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatment uses a sophisticated device to successfully disrupt the nerves that continuously send out pain signals to the brain. By ensuring nerve destruction with heat, RFA can disrupt the perception of pain, effectively helping in the reduction of chronic headache pain, including most migraines.
Occipital nerve stimulation
When conservative treatments such as chiropractic care, medication, or non-invasive procedures offer no relief, a simple device known as occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) may prove beneficial for managing chronic migraines.
It’s actually a new use of already established technology, and works much like a spinal cord stimulator (SCS), also called “pacemaker for pain.” By using low-level electrical impulses, the ONS can actually replace pain with mild tingling sensation and also blocks any pain perception emanating from the nerve to the brain.
Five more new migraine treatments
Besides ONS, here is a list of five new and innovative migraine treatments available that could treat your pain.
1. Cosmetic surgery techniques
A techniques mostly used in cosmetic eye surgery procedures hold some promise in helping all those who are suffering from migraine pain find some relief, according to an extensive research recently completed by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.
In this technique, an endoscope is used to reach from scalp to the eyelid to decompress nerved that trigger migraines. The study concluded that more than 93 percent of patients felt significant relief from pain, and more than half of them said their migraines completely disappeared. An additional 24 percent saw an 83 percent reduction in pain, making this study a big success story in migraine treatment news.
However, not all migraine patients can benefit from this procedure. Factors that may inhibit the person’s ability include individual anatomy, but many doctors in the country aren’t experienced enough with latest endoscopes to ensure successful completion of the procedure.
Study Surgeon Dr. Oren Gleaves says: “Although few larger studies are needed to verify the efficacy of this procedure, we have clearly shown that we can quickly restore these patients to full and productive lives.”
2. Social media therapy
This may sound bit far-fetched, but researchers have found that all those experience migraines and tweet their feelings experience reduced pain.
University of Michigan analyzed 22756 tweets from people suffering migraine attacks and found venting their feelings on social media platform helped them feel much better. Researchers feel part of the brain related to thinking and emotion is also linked to pain perception, which contributed to reduced feelings of pain.
This approach may or may not work, but new migraine treatments on the horizon are focused on finding any possible way to prevent or relieve this pain.
3. Magnet technology
The idea that magnets have the power to treat various migraines has been around for a long time, but until now, researchers have not been able to identify the exact treatment using magnetic principles.
In January 2015, eNuerua Inc., based in Baltimore, announced investment of $16 million to release a device on the market that quickly soothes migraines by sending out magnetic pulses into the brain, reports the Baltimore Sun.
This device is called SpringTMS, and works through a coil placed directly on patient’s scalp from which magnetic waves emanate, quite similar to MRI machine. The idea is that magnetic waves may penetrate the skull and then travel directly into the brain where they will manipulate the electrical impulses that contribute to the development of migraines.
This device is convenient in that it can be easily used at home. You just need to turn it on using a simple button and place this machine against the back of your head when you feel migraine developing. The treatment may last less than a minute and offers instant pain relief.
This device has already received FDA approval, but is currently available only through clinical trials. Your monthly treatment cost would be around $260. The recent capital influx will be used to determine whether this device can be used to prevent headaches instead of just stopping the existing ones.
Some part of the money will also be used for country wide product launch, reports the Baltimore Sun. This device will be first used on patients for whom other treatments have failed to work or who can’t take any medication, in some conditions, such as pregnancy.
4. Talk therapy
Also known as cognitive behavioral therapy, Talk Therapy, is widely known for its ability to help migraine affected people resolve their emotional pain. It’s certainly not a new practice, but it’s definitely one of the most exciting and innovative new migraine treatments.
In a recent research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that it can also help in reducing chronic migraine episodes in kids and adolescents.
This news has raised hopes of patients because currently there are no approved medications for young people with chronic migraines, limiting their treatment options. Patients are considered to have chronic migraines when they have 14 or more migraine episodes every month.
Study participants were divided in two separate groups. One group participated in headache education session, while other group received therapy, learning ways to cope with pain in addition to learning various biofeedback techniques.
After one year, 78 percent of patients receiving this therapy said the number of migraine attacks they experienced was cut by at least half. Researchers said this data was encouraging, and recommended that cognitive behavioral therapy should be offered to young people suffering from chronic migraines as the first therapy to complement medicine.
In another research conducted at Ohio University, it was found that therapy increases the confidence of adults suffering from migraine as they work to self-manage their pain. The effect was dramatic for all those who went for this therapy without any confidence. This makes this therapy an effective way to reach all those who need it most. Science Daily reports:
“Successful behavioral management also helps in increasing participants’ belief that migraines can be easily influenced by one’s own behavior and decreased the belief that most migraines are influenced primarily by chance or fate.”
5. Radiology treatment
According to Society of Interventional Radiology new treatment called Intranasal Sphenopalatine Ganglion can be effective in reducing the amount of medication you need to find some pain relief.
29 patients in the study reported a 39 percent reduction in pain. 78 percent of study participants said they spend less on mediation, and in few cases, none at all after receiving this investigational treatment.
In this procedure, Lidocaine is administered through the nasal passage to one’s spehnopalatine ganglion. This bundle of nerves is directly linked to migraines. No needle actually touches the patient during this procedure, making it minimally invasive.
Lead researcher Dr. Louis Mandato says: “Administration of lidocaine to a person’s sphenopalatine ganglion actually acts as a “reset button” for the his or her brain’s migraine circuitry.”
Although effect of lidocanine may ultimately wear off, the procedure may actually deactivate, or may at least dampen, the neurological triggers that cause migraine. This procedure is still new and untested. However, most researchers hope that patients can receive the treatment repeatedly because it’s minimally invasive.
This treatment is not a cure, scientists say, but just one more effective tool against killing migraine pain. More studies are needed to quantify all the benefits and analyze various long-term benefits of these innovative migraine treatments.