Innovation in medical technology has produced Cefaly, the first ever migraine reduction device. Though it looks like a costume headband made for a sci-fi film, it has proven extremely effective for the patients who have stuck with it.
The trigeminal nerve has been associated with migraines, and this is what Cefaly targets with electrical stimulation. A self-adhesive electrode in the center of the headpiece is placed directly in the middle of the forehead, right above the eyes. When the device is turned on, a small electric current is directed at branches of the trigeminal nerve.
Studies conducted in Belgium indicated that “a little more than 53 percent of patients were satisfied with Cefaly treatment and willing to buy the device for continued use.” The only side effects of using Cefaly are tingling or drowsiness during treatment and headache directly after treatment. In no study of the device have there been adverse effects. Though Cefaly does not completely prevent the occurrence or severity of migraines, it reduces their frequency without the use of prescription medication. Combined with medication for migraines, the device proves very effective for those who suffer from this debilitating affliction.
Cefaly opens up more pathways of exploration for migraine treatment. Medication alone does not cure migraines; it simply treats the symptoms and reduces pain. Some pain reduction medications can themselves cause headaches from overuse. According to Dr. Eishi Asano of Wayne State University in Detroit, “New therapies are needed in migraine, and further studies of neurostimulation using innovative study designs are warranted to explore the optimum way to create an acceptable evidence base for widespread use of this potentially valuable treatment.”