The Doctors; Rachel’s Headaches Controlled with Implanted Neurostimulator; Part 1

Dr. Stork: We’re bringing you the latest ways
to end migraines, banish blemishes and live longer by catching problems early on. Next
up migraines-Rachel is desperate for help. Rachel: Hi doctors-for the past two years
I’ve had horrible migraines. My head hurts 24 hours a day, non-stop and it feels like
my brain is exploding inside my head. I can’t go anywhere with my friends because bright
lights and loud noises make it so much worse. I tried all kinds of medications but nothing
seems to help. Please help me. Dr. Stork: If you never had one-everyone wonders
what is a migraine feel like? Millions of people suffer from the pain and it can be
so excruciating people literally say it feels like is smashing their skull into a million
pieces. We love demos on this show. Imagine you were dealing with a migraine headache-it
literally does feel like someone is smashing your skull. It is so painful and throbbing
that a lot of times when people are suffering from a migraine headache they can do nothing
but lay in a dark room and hope the pain goes away.
Now, what causes a migraine headache? There are a lot of different theories but the one
thing we do know is there a lot of different triggers. It can be lights, it can be smells-even
certain foods-the weather can bring on migraine headaches for certain people. Again, different
theories-one is that the trigeminal pathway-nerves get excited-they release a lot of chemicals-substance
P-has an effect on your blood vessels that line your brain.
. What it does is it causes these blood vessels to dilate and what that does is it sends these
throbbing pain signals that cause the symptoms of a migraine headache that can be so debilitating-but
luckily there’s a new procedure and it’s offering hope to many migraine sufferers just like
Rachel and our cameras followed her into the OR as surgeons implanted a small electrical
pulse device into her head. Dr. Reed: Ok, we are going to make small incisions
in her head here and we’re going to put in four leads-two in the front-two in the back.
When the unit is turned on it generates a mild electromagnetic field that will stimulate
these nerves that will ease her headaches. We always anchor these leads to the deep tissue
so they don’t move. Now we’re placing what we call the introducer.
It’s just a little hollow plastic tube-we pass this directly under her skin to just
right in the middle of her nose. This one’s going in directly above and parallel to her
right eyebrow-now we’re going to pass it over to the right ear and then pass it down and
connect up to where the battery is. What I’m holding in my hand are the in points of the
two leads that we place over her forehead; one above each eyebrow. We’ll end up having
four of these wire leads coming from two from the front, two from the rear.
What we have here is we have an incision in the upper outer gluteal region and this is
the battery we implant. This will go in a little subcutaneous pocket. We have the two
wires in the forehead-we have those passed back and are connected now to the battery.
We have all four of our leads ready to go. Now the circuits’ complete and the battery
will place right back in the little pocket we have fashioned earlier for it. When we
close it up you will not be able to see it at all.

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  1. Its horrible.. cant make plans. Gota take the day as it comes. I have isolated myself from my friends and family members just to avoid noise from kids anf the talking and laughing.

  2. I believe daith piercing might be able to help effectively as well (and do it less invasively, my word) since it also provides stimulation to the vagus nerve when done properly. However, I deeply regret the medical community’s knee jerk rejection of it without actually examining efficacy prior to declaring it “worthless” or at best “placebo” (which seems impossible since some people report years of relief, and the placebo effect is only temporary.) Many people declared it to be about stimulation to a pressure point and are slow to realize it’s more so the vagus nerve stimulation that explains lasting effects. Without the proper research, however, it’s difficult to find any consistent information about precisely WHERE on the daith the piercing should be located, what gauge should be used, what material should be used for the piercing (titanium, surgical steel, Pyrex, etc) or what shape the piercing should be (stud, curved barbell, full circle) since this effects a variety of things regarding nerve stimulation. I personally think a surgery like the one shown in the video is unnecessarily invasive and needs to be improved upon if it’s meant to be considered a new “fix” for migraines. At least a daith piercing, if done properly and cared for correctly afterward to prevent infection, is just on one outer area of the body and doesn’t involve running multiple leads underneath a person’s skin. It also can be done with materials that won’t interfere on medical imagining as I fear this implant might. Somebody find a doctor and do a kickstarter so we can fund some serious studies into daith piercings and finally get solid answers.

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