A startling new therapy that significantly relieves chronic headaches has been discovered: electric shocks.
Scientists say the breakthrough treatment—that has no adverse side effects—floods s headache sufferer’s body with natural painkillers that have similar properties to powerful opiates including the universally used drug, morphine. The new therapy relieves pain associated with chronic headaches by up to 37 percent.
The research evolved from the original therapeutic application of electrical shocks to the brain developed many years ago by neurologists and psychiatric physicians. The electrical stimulation that relieves the incidence, frequency and intensity of pain experienced by the average migraine headache sufferer is more focused and magnitudes less that that used on sufferers of mental disorders.
MRIs are used to track the efficacy of the treatment in the patients.
Minute, targeted current effective
A medical research team working at the University of Michigan discovered that a minute current was sufficient to promote a reduction in pain.
The Michigan team worked with 13 carefully selected migraine sufferers. Each participant had a history of 15 or more migraine episodes monthly over 30 years on average. Using a trickle current of barely two milliamps current delivered to the motor cortex region of the brain through carefully positioned electrodes, the pain from the headaches was reduced by more than one-third after 10 sessions during a one month period.
Doctors are excited about the breakthrough because it promises to reduce the amount of powerful drugs that migraine patients now use to offset the pain. The opiates that are now the only treatment can lead to addiction.
Treatment is cumulative
The study and breakthrough results appear in the journal Headache. Lead author, Dr. Alexandre DaSilva, an assistant professor at the U-M School of Dentistry told the Daily Mail that the positive effect is cumulative
“This suggests that repetitive sessions are necessary to revert ingrained changes in the brain related to chronic migraine suffering,’ DaSilva said.
The electrical therapy boosts the amount of natural painkillers produced by the body. It promotes the production of opiate-like chemicals that work to reduce the pain’s severity. This study proves that electrical stimulation can work on the motor area of the brain and reach levels of pain deep within the brain.
“Previously, it was thought that the electric current would only go into the most superficial areas of the cortex,’ DaSilva told the Daily Mail. ‘We found that pain-related areas very deep in the brain could be targeted.”