Home > Alternative Treatments > Can Magnetism Treat Migraines?

Can Magnetism Treat Migraines?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 6 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Migraine Headache Severe Migraine

Migraines are a common form of severe headache. They tend to affect more women than men and are regarded as a highly disabling illness. Severe migraine, often described as chronic migraine, can cause severe headaches with sickness, pain and light sensitivity on more than half the days of each month. This makes it difficult to hold down a job, look after children and generally completely disrupts normal life.

There are treatments for migraine – painkillers of various types, anti-nausea medication and specialist migraine drugs such as triptans. There are also various drugs that can be used to try to prevent migraines, or at least lessen the frequency of attacks, but none work very effectively.

Searching for New Migraine Treatments

It is no surprise that people with migraines are tempted to try just about anything to rid themselves of their terrible headaches. Caution is necessary as some of the new ideas for treatments are a complete waste of time. Recently, though, as our understanding of migraine deepens, some experts think that using a magnetic device may help lessen migraine pain and make attacks easier to deal with.

When a migraine begins, many people get a warning, called an aura. This can take the form of a ‘strange feeling’ or a series of flashing lights, ringing in the ears or the skin around different parts of the body can tingle or get pins and needles. This is thought to reflect changes in the way that electrical signals are passing through the brain. Rather than being a muscular or blood vessel disturbance, migraine seems to begin with an alteration in electrical brain activity.

Electricity and Magnetism

The link between electricity and magnetism is a physical one and is an established scientific fact. There is less evidence that the electrical activity of the brain can be affected by a magnetic force outside the head, but this is the thinking behind the new magnetic device being tested as a migraine treatment. The device sends out short pulse of magnetism and it is applied to the head of someone experiencing the aura of migraine.

The theory is that the magnetic pulses will disrupt the waves of electrical activity that are passing through the brain during this brief window of opportunity, to try to prevent the full blown migraine attack.

Advantages of Non-Invasive Treatment

One of the main advantages of being able to use a magnetic pulse generator to treat migraine is that it is completely non-invasive. This is a migraine treatment that doesn’t need to be taken as a pill, or by injection, and it can be applied to the head when the warning of a migraine begins. It is also convenient as the device can be carried around and can be used in public – you might look a bit strange in a meeting at work or on a bus holding a magnetic pulse generator to one side of your head, but, on the other hand, if it could be made to look like a mobile phone, no-one would probably notice.

Testing Magnetic Therapy for Migraine

Some proper clinical trials of the device have started with one group getting the real magnetic pulse generator and the other group getting a device that looked and sounded exactly the same but that didn’t produce any magnetic pulses. None of the people in either of the groups knew which device they had been given but they were asked to use it every time they experienced a migraine aura.

Apparently, twice as many people who used the real device were free from pain within 2 hours of starting to use it compared with the people who used the pretend device. Having something that is quick and easy to use, and that is unlikely to have as many side effects as the drugs currently used by people with migraine could be a real step forward.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mumof3
    Re: Headache With Pins and Needles: Is This Serious?
    I have pins and needles beneath my feet, it has been there for three days now- and hasn't gone away.…
    25 March 2017
  • Ms. Haider
    Re: Headaches and Eyesight
    I wear soft contact lenses in the day time and take them out only when I'm ready to sleep. Even then if the contacts are out and I close…
    12 March 2017
  • Stassie
    Re: Migraine Classification
    My daughter has been diagnosed with migraine as she has most of the symptoms, so her neurologist said it was a classic one; He prescribed…
    10 March 2017
  • Alexandra
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I had hit ny head on a table and got a headache and it was getting worse so i went home, in the car i had passes out and my mom…
    10 March 2017
  • Alleycat
    Re: Headaches During The Night
    I have started walking with a headache about an hour after falling asleep.This happens at night or if I am sleeping during the day.…
    10 March 2017
  • Jad
    Re: Headaches and Iron Deficiency
    For the last year I've been getting shooting pains up and down the left side of my head which was diagnosed as trigeminal…
    8 March 2017
  • Stassie
    Re: Headaches Caused by Tensions and Stress
    Hi, My daughter, 16, has been diagnosed with having tension headaches, (via CAT scan and MRI) when she was 11. Since…
    7 March 2017
  • DUNK
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    I have suffered severe eye, scalp, jaw pain for 5 years. The pain has been so bad I have thought about suicide more than once. The…
    6 March 2017
  • "common-cold antenna
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    I've had this pain on my scalp in approximately the same area for a long time ( about 26yrs ). It happens just before I get a bout…
    26 February 2017
  • Julie
    Re: What is the Headache Impact Test?
    I wake up with severe headaches in the middle of the night. What do i do to stop it
    12 February 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the HeadacheExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.