New Treatments for Headache Pain

Source: WebMD

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. OnabotulinumtoxinA or nerve blocks for the treatment of chronic headaches, tension headaches or migraines. OnabotulinumtoxinA is typically used to treat wrinkles; however, a doctor may use itto treat headaches that do not respond to other medications. Injections of onabotulinumtoxinA 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 individuals 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 individuals with chronic headaches. The ideal candidate is someone who deals with severe headaches several days a week. The program is designed to improve the individual’s ability to concentrate and function, rather than completely eliminate pain.

4. Clinical studies for people who live with 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.