Before searching the technology listing, check out the commentary about neurotech applications for migraine or cluster headaches. This quick and simple read can be found here.
There are many modalities of neurotechnology in the treatment of migraines and/or cluster headaches. This is an overview of basic areas of treatment that are available:
Cranial Electrical Stimulation
Cranial Electrical Stimulation or CES is a type of non-invasive medical device. It delivers stimulation to the brain in the form of transcranial pulsed-current stimulation that applies a particular amplitude, frequency, and waveform. CES devices typically have two parts: a box to control settings, and a set of electrodes. Some devices may require the application of electrodes to the scalp.
Trigeminal or Occipital Electrical Stimulation
Trigeminal Electrical Stimulation or TNS is typically delivered via an externally worn headset or pack. The trigeminal nerve may be accessed thru the lower forehead. Occipital Electrical Stimulation or ONS may be an implanted or external device. The occipital nerves are accessed through the base of the neck area. Occipital nerves transmit most of the feeling at the back and top of the head.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation or VNS may be an implanted or external device specifically targeting the vagus nerve, the 10th cranial nerve which extends from the brain down the neck to many areas in the body. The application of stimulation for chronic headaches is applied to the cervical or neck area of the vagus nerve. The devices typically include electrodes and a stimulator.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a modality in the form of a wearable brain stimulator. It delivers low electrical current to the scalp and applies a positive and negative current through electrodes. It is believed to alter neuron firing in order to augment the synaptic plasticity of the brain.
There are a variety of applications which are listed below by category. Prior to considering any new therapy, treatment or device, a proper evaluation should be conducted with a knowledgeable medical professional. There are health, medical and financial risks. Out of pocket costs and available insurance coverage for any treatment must be considered prior to starting a protocol. Also, it is key to understand that results and applications will vary depended on symptom and function limitations related to the condition. If you find something of interest, please contact the vendor directly to find a trained professional in your area.
Resources & Support Groups
- American Migraine Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of research and awareness surrounding migraine headaches.
- The Migraine Trust – a charitable organization that strives for better support for people living with migraine and/or cluster headache, works toward better diagnostics and supports efforts for a cure.
- ClusterBusters – is an organization that supports research for better treatments and a cure while advocating to improve the lives of those struggling with cluster headaches.
- Migraine Research Foundation – a charity that raises money to award grants to researchers from around the world who are working to discover the causes, improve the treatments, and find a cure for migraine.
- National Headache Foundation – The mission of the NHF is to further awareness that headache and migraine are legitimate neurobiological diseases.
- Miles for Migraine – nonprofit organization with the mission of improving the lives of people with migraine and other headache disorders, and their families, by raising public awareness about this disease, and helping to find a cure.
- Patient Advocacy Foundation – an organization providing case management and financial support for people living with chronic health conditions.