New Treatments for Headache Pain
Head pain can be debilitating and may substantially decrease the quality of one’s life. Headaches can occur at any time for no particular reason, or they can be a result of specific triggers, such as dehydration, eating the wrong foods, or sensitivity to light. Most people think that their options stop at over-the-counter pain medications. The following is a list of new treatments for headache pain that are worth mentioning to your doctor if you have chronic, debilitating pain.
1. The direct implant of an occipital nerve stimulator. A stimulator is approximately the size of a credit card. It works by stimulating the brain to create a substance similar to morphine that naturally alleviates pain. The device can be activated by patients when headaches first appear.
2. Botox or nerve blocks for the treatment of chronic headaches, tension headaches or migraines. Botox is typically used to treat wrinkles; however, a doctor may use Botox to treat headaches that do not respond to other medications. Injections of Botox are known to cause pain relief for up to four months in most patients. A nerve block is a minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical currents to block the pain signal sent to the brain. Many patients see improvements in their pain for up to a year.
3. IMATCH, an intense outpatient program that lasts three weeks long, may be able to help patients with chronic headaches. The ideal candidate is someone who suffers from severe headaches several days a week. The program is designed to improve the patient’s ability to concentrate and function, rather than completely eliminate pain.
4. Clinical studies for people who suffer from chronic migraines are currently underway to determine whether peripheral nerve stimulation is a safe and effective treatment option. The technique involves placing electrode devices along the peripheral nerves to control pain.