Migraine has been researched for years but is still not completely understood. There are so many theories as to what triggers attacks and headaches, with many pointing to disorders in neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and blood. Now most researchers believe that a specific activity pattern known as “cortical depression spreading” is the actual reason for most, if not all, cases. It’s this line of thinking that has now lead to so many treatments that solely rely on neurostimulation-where electricity is used to redirect pain signals in the body- like the latest one called Omega Procedure.
In this procedure, electrodes are implanted just underneath your skin at predefined strategic points in the head, depending on where the patient feels the pain. These points are connected to the battery pack which is placed at the buttocks, lower back, or armpit area that can be easily turned on and off by the patient with the help of remote control. When engaged, these electrodes can stimulate the occipital nerve in the brain. This action disrupts messaging in the area. Patients who’ve go these implants report that a slightly pleasant sensation takes the place of migraine pain once this device is switched on. This offers a lasting relief to migrianeurs.
Exploring the Options
Most of the migraine patients try to address their pain with OTC painkillers. They can work in case of minor or moderate cases, but less when the headache is severe. They also cause many side effects when used for prolonged periods of time. These side effects include ulcers and intestinal bleeding. Other classes of drugs, like ergots and triptans, can also be used; they can manage migraine pain by improving circulation to the brain.
In tougher cases, doctors prescribe opioid drugs like Percocet or Vicodin, which can cancel out pain signals from the brain more efficiently. However, they also cause impaired motor skills, drowsiness, and digestive issues. Not only that, they can also bead to addiction due to their habit-forming nature, especially after prolonged use. For this reason, they are not prescribed by the doctors as a first approach to manage pain.
Definitely, migraine is a unique condition that you cannot just medicate away. After all, long term use leads to many side-effects and pose grave health risks. This is the reason why there is such a huge excitement on neurostimulation approaches such as Omega procedure.
Is this the right choice for you?
Complex medical conditions like migraines, where the causes are not entirely understood, are difficult to manage. But doctors and scientists are aggressively pursuing a better understanding of neurostimulation and migraine as a treatment for it. Many studies carried out in the past few years, especially the ones by Kenneth Alo, Dr Erich Righter, and Marina Abramova, shows that it has positive impact in almost 93 percent of the cases. In fact, while assessing the impact of neurostimulation for migraine, Bart Vargs and Dr. Todd Schwedt noted that these types of surgical approaches can serve as an important treatment option for migraine patient who experience its severest forms. It can be termed as a less invasive therapies.
Definitely, the Omega Procedure works, and as we’ve discussed in previous posts, it tends to be even better than similar approaches like Cefaly, a popular neurostimuation device.
Who is the best candidate?
These are the ones who’ve not responded to traditional treatment. The biggest reason why medical fraternity is so excited about Omega is that it drastically reduced the need for patient to take pain medications. Another plus point of Omega procedure is that it goes after the source, and not merely symptoms.
Since Omega procedure is the more invasive one than other options, it’s not going to be the first approach recommended by medical practitioners. It’s mainly reserved for all those who are down with chronic migraine pain, typified by more than 12 days a month of severe headaches. For this group, the symptoms are a dominant force, significantly impacting the quality of life, affecting relationships at work and at home.
Ultimately, the decision on the best way to treat your migraine should be taken in consultation with your specialists. It’s certainly worth asking about.
It has a promising future
Ulitmatley, the best way to manage migraine is to be proactive: never give up. There are many ways you can manage the migraine, so you have options if something doesn’t work. You will ultimately find a solution, and with research going on in this field, treatment will only get more effective.
Schwedt, Todd J., and Bert Vargas. 2015. “Neurostimulation For Treatment Of Migraine And Cluster Headache”. Pain Medicine 16 (9): 1827-1834. Oxford University Press (OUP). doi:10.1111/pme.12792.
Eidt, A. (2017). What’s the deal with the “Omega Procedure”? – Migraine.com. [online] Migraine.com. Available at: https://migraine.com/living-migraine/whats-the-deal-with-the-omega-procedure/
Richter, E., Alo, K. and Abramova, M. (2017). [online] Available at: https://migrainecenters.com/assets/Medically-Refractory-Headache-Treatment-with-Peripheral-Neurostimulation1.pdf