Monday, July 12, 2010
Medical Reports: Headache Help
Headache pain can be so bad some people can't even get out of bed. 7's Richard Lemus shows us how a tiny device is giving some folks headache help.
WSVN -- Elaine Whalen's headache pain made her life miserable.
Elaine Whalen: "Either the pain would generate up or generate down."
Sometimes it would be so bad she would have to go to the emergency room.
Elaine Whalen: "Because my head would swell, I would go with an ice crown."
Nothing seemed to give her relief.
Dr. Michael Schou, North Shore Medical Center: "Migraine sufferers, about 7o percent are women, 30 percent are men."
Pain care specialist Michael Schou says more than 30 million Americans suffer from some type of headache pain.
Dr. Michael Schou: "Some people are truly incapacitated by this."
Elaine was so desperate for help she decided to take part in a study testing a new treatment for migraine headaches.
Here's how it works: Doctors at North Shore Medical Center implanted this little device. It's placed in the lower back and electrodes run up to the base of the skull.
Dr. Michael Schou "We run it subcutaneously under the skin and we park it somewhere around here."
The patient uses a remote control to set off electrical impulses into the nerves of their head when they feel a headache coming on.
Dr. Michael Schou: "The whole trick is not to turn the unit on, once you have your headache you turn it on, it's a preventive measure."
Doctors aren't sure exactly why it works, but so far studies show it is helping.
Dr. Michael Schou: "Once you apply this electricity to the base of the skull, for whatever reason, it short circuits the signals that trigger the migraine."
Elaine is amazed at the difference!.
Elaine Whalen: "I don't feel the pain at all, none. There's no pain in the back. There are no headaches."
She just turns up her remote when she feels a migraine coming on.
Elaine Whalen: "I can feel the tingling, half an hour later, I forgot about the headache."
Elaine is looking forward to getting the permanent device soon and says her life has changed completely since the implant.
Elaine Whalen: "I feel like a completely new person."
The implant does need to be recharged every seven to 14 days, and comes with a cordless charger.
For More Information on the Study:
Dr. Michael Schou
North Shore Medical Center
Tel: (305) 694-3775