Drs. Oz & Roizen: Electric migraine therapy

April 21, 2014 

Jay Silverheels portrayed Tonto in TV's "The Lone Ranger" wearing a simple headband across his forehead. Johnny Depp amped up the character's costume and topped off his movie-version headband with a dead crow. Critics said the affectation pained them greatly. But the latest headband to hit the U.S. market - it's been available in Canada and Europe for some time - might bring much-needed pain relief to the more than 30 million folks who contend with migraine headaches.

This battery-powered device, newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is designed to prevent migraine attacks, not treat them once they've started. It's worn around the head, and during a daily 20-minute session, an electrode delivers programmed electrical impulses to branches of the trigeminal nerve that's located in the center of the forehead, above the eyes. This three-part nerve is thought to play a role in triggering migraines and in transmitting the pain sensations it causes.

Studies show that when used over several months, the headband cuts the number of headache days in half and significantly reduces the use of migraine-attack medication. And just as important: Side effects from this novel migraine therapy are rare and minimal. Many migraine suffers can't stomach potent migraine prevention and treatment medications, which can trigger major side effects. So if you have migraines, ask your doctor about trying this new way to stop the pain before it begins.

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