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Inconclusive

X-rays showed that leads haven’t slipped significantly. Since I can still feel the leads move when I move my right arm or shoulder, it’s pretty clear that they will slip more. My doctor answered all our questions candidly, but nothing he said makes the decision any easier.

The Medtronic rep reprogrammed the leads with the hope that activating different electrodes would still provide headache relief and stop the pinching pain associated with the leads. If that doesn’t work, there’s no point in keeping the device as it is. Then I have to decide to take the leads our or have them replaced.

The good news is that I can have the leads removed and keep the battery in. If I decide in the future that I want the leads replaced, it’s no problem. This is the option that I’m leading toward.

I meet with a surgeon tomorrow and then have a follow-up with the pain specialist next Monday. I doubt tomorrow’s appointment will give me much more information, but it will be good to have another perspective.

Otherwise, I’m doing great. My pain level is about a 6 right now (probably from having the stimulator messed with), but I’ve taken meds and it seems to be settling down. I’m sitting on the couch at the home of our very dearest friends, watching the Diamondbacks‘ first game of the season. The desert is in bloom and smells amazing. We’re getting Mexican food for dinner. What could be better?

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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.