Traditional Treatment for Migraines
When reaching out to a physician to get relief from recurrent migraine headaches, they may prescribe prophylactic (preventative) medications, such as antidepressants, antiepileptic medications, or medication to lower blood pressure. Even if the individual finds the medication somewhat effective, these drugs may cause unpleasant side effects, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, vertigo, nausea, fatigue, blurred vision and more, making them intolerable.
In addition to these medications, doctors might also prescribe a drug to take during the actual migraine event, to help minimize pain, nausea, or triptans to regulate the inflammation and constriction of blood vessels. These drugs come with their own laundry list of adverse effects.
The anti-nausea drugs can cause sexual dysfunction, dry mouth, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, and weight gain. The pain medications, which may be simple over-the-counter medications, can cause damage to the stomach, nausea, light-headedness, fainting, or unusual bruising. The triptan medications may cause nausea, drowsiness, tingling or numbness in toes, dizziness, or tightness in the chest or throat.
TMS for Treating Migraines
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was FDA cleared in 2008 for treatment of medication-resistant patients with major depressive disorder. In the past decade, more and more medical uses for TMS therapy are being trialed and subsequently prescribed. These conditions include anxiety, PTSD, substance use disorder, and the treatment of migraines.
TMS is a safe, non-invasive brain stimulation therapy that can help reset brain chemistry and bring symptom relief without the need for drugs. It works using magnetic pulses that are directed through a coil over the client’s scalp toward the appropriate area of the brain. The induction of electric currents then stimulates brain cells, or neurons, that are sluggish, eventually rebalancing the brain chemistry and resulting in relief from the migraines. This condition is referred to as cortical spreading depression. In other cases, TMS can effectively reduce cortical hyper-excitability, also resulting in fewer migraines.
The TMS treatment regimen will usually last 4-6 weeks for the best treatment outcome. Each session lasts approximately 40 minutes, and no sedation is needed. After the therapy session, patients can resume normal activities immediately.
Clinical Evidence that TMS is Both Safe and Effective for Migraine Treatment
TMS continues to be studied for various medical conditions, including migraine. To date, there has not been a large amount of research conducted, but the trials that have been completed demonstrate TMS to be both safe and effective for treating and preventing migraine. When comparing results of 267 study participants who used TMS versus patients who did not, the percentage of patients who experienced pain relief was nearly 50% higher using TMS for treating their migraine compared with those who did not (32% vs. 22%).
A recent meta-analysis of the effect of TMS therapy on migraine was published in 2017 in the Journal of Headache and Pain. In compiling data from several different clinical trials of TMS for treating migraine patients, the study revealed that TMS therapy is effective in the treatment of migraine. Five studies were included in the meta-analysis, with a cumulative total of 313 migraine patients.
In another study, 132 patients reported at the outset that they experienced about 9 migraine headache days per month. After TMS treatment, the study participants reported 2.75 fewer days of migraine headaches per month.
For patients who did not experience successful treatment results with traditional drug therapy, TMS can offer a drug-free alternative for relieving the suffering related to migraine.
Anew Era TMS is a leading provider of TMS therapy serving Southern California. With a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and expert TMS technicians, Anew Era TMS is ready to offer new hope for those who suffer recurrent migraines. Contact us today at (888) 503-1549 to learn more about this exciting new treatment.