If you’re one of the more than 29.5 million migraine sufferers, a new device known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) might just be what you need to zap away pain. When a person experiences the aura stage, they can place the TMS—a small handheld device—against the head, and it will spark a magnetic pulse that disrupts abnormal electrical currents in the brain’s nerve cells and prevents the migraine from becoming a reality.
Dr. Yousef Mohammad, a neurologist and lead researcher at Ohio State’s Medical Center, conducted a study with a 164 patients who received TMS treatment, and, thirty-nine percent became pain free at the two-hour post-treatment point. He reported his findings in 2006 at the American Headache Society meeting and maintains research is “promising given that only 50 to 60 percent of migraine patients respond to traditional migraine drug treatments.” Mohammad view the TMS as a viable alternative because “almost all migraine drugs have some side effects, and patients are prone to addiction from narcotics, or [they develop] headaches from frequent use of over-the-counter medication.”
Another study using the TMS released in 2008 by R.B. Lipton and colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in Bronx, New York, with 201 patients age eighteen to sixty-eight years old, found similar results. In that study researchers noted, “The primary endpoint…was no-pain at 2 hours for the first treated attack.” Thus, researchers concluded, “early treatment of migraine with aura with TMS is associated with increased rates of freedom from pain at 2 hours.” Researchers also noted the “lack of adverse effects” as another positive of TMS treatment.
Although the TMS has not yet been released to the public, if you feel one coming on, check out Nuralieve, a medical technology company producing the first portable “home-use” TMS treatment system and located in Sunnyvale, California, which is just a hop, skip, and jump away from me. How soon they’ll have the TMS on the market is still anyone’s guess because federal law still limits it for investigational use, but each study with a positive outcome makes it one step closer to migraine relief.