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Nerve Stimulation for Migraines

All the headache forums have been abuzz this week with questions about nerve stimulation to treat migraines. I’ve had an occipital nerve stimulator since December 2003, so I can share a patient’s perspective. I haven’t blogged about it much yet because I don’t know where to start. It’s time to get over that.

For those who aren’t familiar with this experimental treatment, the stimulator sends electrical impulses to the occipital nerve, which interrupt the pain signals sent along the nerve. For good basic information about the device and procedure, see the Neurotech Reports article on nerve stimulation. This article expands Medtronic’s press release that was issued in September 2004, when an occipital nerve stimulator study began.

I plan to break what I have to share into bite-size pieces so it’s easier to write about. Expect a lot of posts about it in the next few weeks. If you have any specific questions, e-mail me (kerrie at thedailyheadache dot com), and I’ll be sure to answer them.

One Response to Nerve Stimulation for Migraines

  1. kathy says:

    I’m 35 yrs. old and have had migraines since I was 10 or so. They’ve become worse as I got older. I get at least 15 migraines per month, two or three of them are severe. For example: a terrible urge to lie down right where I am (including the breakroom at work), my eye starts to close (usually the right one),eyes start to tear,face goes pale,uncontrollable vomitting,the slightest smell, sound, or light can set me into in a silent rage and finally I become suicidal. I get the same old battery of questions from every doctor I’ve seen with the same frustrating response of “you’re normal,you just have migraines”. I must add that when I don’t have a headache I’m fine, as normal as anyone can be,but with a headache I’m a completely different person,I’ve also taken all the preventatives that I know of and am currently using relpax 40 to combat, but even that is starting to take longer and longer to kick in. The last bad one I had, I actually had a visual of my wrists slit wide open and how my goodbye letters to my loved ones would be worded. It’s a very scary thought but I feel hopeless when I’m in that state of pain. If anyone can help advise me on how to keep living with migraines it would be greatly appreciated.

    *********
    I’m sorry that you’re suffering so much. I wish I had an easy answer for you. You’re not alone in having suicidal thoughts during migraines — I think everyone with severe frequent headaches thinks about it.

    A supportive group of people who also suffer from migraines can be extremely helpful. The Migrainepage forums — http://www.migrainepage.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=list&forum=discussion&conf=conf_migraine_discussion — are full of kind, caring people who live with similar pain.

    If you’re having suicidal thoughts during a severe headache, there’s a national suicide hotline at (800) 273-TALK. They can direct you to local resources.

    Please let me know if there’s anything I can help you with or any questions I can answer.

    Take care of yourself. You’re in my thoughts.

    Kerrie

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