So I have had a great deal of luck with the Oska Pulse and migraine intensity and some frequency. And recently there has been some research out on other migraine external stimulation devices. Clearly I am sold on them. I wish I had known about the Oska Pulse a long time ago, but maybe it didn’t exist. Anyway, I am going to show you some research into some of the devices we have available to us. Because there are a few options out there and there is research to back them.
First, the Oska Pulse. I had mentioned this study previously. I personally use my Oska for 6 times a day. I am tracking my pain so I will update on that in the near future, but I’d say I am looking at 4-6, instead of 7-9. With some migraine free days, which I haven’t had for years and years. Well, literally can’t remember, to be honest. Long time ago in a place far, far away I had a migraine free day before I used the Oska.
“Treatment of migraine with pulsing electromagnetic fields” involved 42 subjects had treatment 1 hour a day for 2 weeks. 73% reported decreased headaches (45% a good decreased and 15% and excellent decrease). 10 went on for an additional 2 weeks of treatment. All showing a decrease in headaches (50% good, 38% excellent).
Back in the day a neuro offered this to me. He had one GammaCore in his office to use but I would have to pay for the replacement pads on it. I didn’t try it at the time and I rather regret that now that I know the sort of results these devices can actually have.
So the most recent study here was on cluster headaches and they do not even mention migraines but it was certainly recommended for chronic migraines for me. Nevertheless this one the research pertains to cluster headaches. It stimulates the vagas nerve on the neck. The study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial called ACT2. It involved 30 subjects with episodic cluster headaches and 72 with chronic cluster headaches.
The study showed that “eight times as many patients with episodic cluster headaches achieved pain-free status after 15 minutes – the primary endpoint – with use of gammaCore® compared to a sham device: 48% vs. 6%, respectively (p < 0.01). ” (AHS) No serious adverse affects were noted.
Single Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has been looked at before but this trial called the ESPOUSE study looked specifically at sTMS for migraine prevention, FDA approved in 2013 for migraine with aura. ESPOUSE looked at migraine with or without aura in 132 subjects. The sTMA emits a short magnetic field pulse to locations in the brain, creating an electric current that can treat the migraine. Subjects had to have at least 5 up to 25 migraines a month for the study, with each lasting 4 or more hours and of moderate to severe intensity. They used the device for prevention, of 4 pulses twice daily, and acutely in the case of an attack, 3 pulses at 15 minute intervals and repeated up to 3 times.
After a 3 month trial “use of the device reduced the number of headache days in a month, the primary endpoint, by 2.8 compared to the baseline of 9.1 – about a 31% reduction.” (AHS) There were no serious adverse events, and side effects were reported in 19%.
There has been previous research in this area, see here.
I know many people have heard of this one, the migraine headband. And there was research in 2013 on it for prevention. 5 Belgian headaches clinics participated in the study which included 67 patients. There were no adverse affects.
“Between run-in and 3rd month of treatment the mean number of migraine days decreased significantly in the verum (4.88 vs 6.94; p=0.023), but not in the sham group (6.22 vs 6.54; p=0.608). The 50% responder rate was significantly greater (p=0.023) in the verum (38.1%) than in the sham group (12.1 %). Monthly migraine attacks (p=0.044), monthly headache days (p=0.041) and monthly acute anti-migraine drug intake (p=0.007) were also significantly reduced in the verum but not in the sham group.” (Journal of Headache and Pain).
So there are options for non-drug, external stimulation devices that do not require any surgery at all. Beneficial to try if you do not respond to preventative medication, or do not respond sufficiently.
The Cefaly, GammaCore and Oksa are on the market. But I do not know if you can actually buy the GammaCore yourself. At one time it was only available through a neurologist. Not sure about the sTMS, I suspect that is just research at the moment, but certainly potential. Certainly you get TMS treatment, such as the NueroStar. The Oska Pulse, is not exclusively for migraines, so that is a benefit for me, since I also have fibromyalgia and nerve pain.
The GammaCore you do have to buy replacement pads with it, so it does come with an additional cost factor on that one. And the Cefaly apparently has electrodes that you also have to replace, but I am not sure how often that needs to be done but it seems a 3 pack is roughly 25 dollars according to the mighty power of Google. The Oska Pulse has no additional cost factor and is rechargeable, that one I know for sure.