Electronic Help For Migraines

Written by AnaLise on July 17, 2008 – 7:07 pm -

Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center have been looking at an electronic device called a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) to stop migraines before they become full-blown. 

The TMS device work by interrupting a migraine and eliminating migraine pain and other symptoms if the device is used at the earliest stage of the migraine.  Many people who suffer from migraines describe having an “aura” before their migraine starts.  The aura which has been described as a sort of electrical storm in the brain causing the sufferer to see visions such as zigzags and shooting stars, flashes of light, spots, weakness or tingling in the body, usually signals the onset of a migraine.

The TMS, if used at the beginning of the aura has successfully prevented the migraine from progressing any further and has eliminated the symptoms already present.  The study at Ohio State involved 164 individuals.  39% of these individuals reported being symptom and pain free two hours after the TMS was used on them to treat migraine symptoms.

The TMS works by sending a magnetic impulse through a metal coil which then creates a very intense magnetic field.  When the magnetic pulse is held near the person’s head, the migraine aura is interrupted.  By using the TMS in this way, migraine headaches can be stopped before they really get going in many people, eliminating the need for medication in the situations where the TMS works well for the individual.

In the past, studies were conducted on a similar machine, however, it was large and difficult to handle.  The TMS is much more compact and user-friendly, and it can be used at home, at the office or in transit.  In addition, since there were no adverse reactions reported in the Ohio State Study, this brings hope that many migraine sufferers will be able to be treated without medication in the near future. 


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