Can nerve stimulation help prevent migraine?

Wearing a nerve stimulator for 20 minutes a day may be a new option for migraine sufferers, according to new research published in the February 6, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The stimulator is placed on the forehead, and it delivers to the supraorbital nerve.

For the study, 67 people who had an average of four per month were followed for one month with no treatment. Then they received either the stimulation 20 minutes a day for three months or sham stimulation, where they wore the device but the stimulation given was at levels too low to have any effect.

Those who received the stimulation had fewer days with migraine in the third month of treatment compared to the first month with no treatment. The number of days with migraine decreased from 6.9 days to 4.8 days per month. The number did not change for those who received the sham treatment.

The study also looked at the number of people who had 50 percent or higher reduction in the number of days with migraine in a month. That number was 38 percent for those who had the stimulation compared to 12 percent of those who received the sham treatment.

There were no side effects from the stimulation.

"These results are exciting, because the results were similar to those of drugs that are used to prevent , but often those drugs have many side effects for people, and frequently the side effects are bad enough that people decide to quit taking the ," said study author Jean Schoenen, MD, PhD, of Liège University in Belgium and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Migraine in children may affect school performance

Oct 29, 2012

Children with migraine are more likely to have below average school performance than kids who do not have headaches, according to new research published in the October 30, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journa ...

Drug doesn't help prevent migraine after all

Feb 11, 2008

Contrary to some reports, the epilepsy drug oxcarbazepine does not appear to prevent migraine, according to research published in the February 12, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neu ...

Combination drug taken early relieves migraine symptoms

Jul 07, 2008

A combination drug taken within an hour after the start of a migraine is effective in relieving symptoms, according to research published in the July 8, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academ ...

Brain differences found in people with migraine

Nov 19, 2007

People with migraines have differences in an area of the brain that helps process sensory information, including pain, according to a study published in the November 20, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the ...

Recommended for you

'Chatty' cells help build the brain

12 hours ago

The cerebral cortex, which controls higher processes such as perception, thought and cognition, is the most complex structure in the mammalian central nervous system. Although much is known about the intricate ...

'Trigger' for stress processes discovered in the brain

Nov 27, 2014

At the Center for Brain Research at the MedUni Vienna an important factor for stress has been identified in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden). This is the protein secretagogin ...

New research supporting stroke rehabilitation

Nov 26, 2014

Using world-leading research methods, the team of Dr David Wright and Prof Paul Holmes, working with Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Victoria University in Melbourne, studied activity in an area of the brain ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.