Migraine sufferers could cure their headaches without drugs using portable machine filled with magnets
- Guy’s and St Thomas’s headache centre is trialling the remarkable machine
- It works by sending an electric pulse through the skull at the touch of a button
- Migraines reportedly affect around ten million adults across the entire UK
Migraine sufferers may be able to cure their headaches without resorting to drugs thanks to a device containing magnets, a hospital scheme has found.
The small, portable machine can be used at home and is held at the back of the head to relieve pain.
Patients at Guy’s and St Thomas’s headache centre in London have been given the single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) tools.
The device sends a pulse through the skull at the touch of a button and stimulates brain cells to relieve the debilitating headaches.
Patients at Guy’s and St Thomas’s headache centre have been given access to the machine as part of a trial. File image used
The treatment has been around for more than 50 years but the cumbersome equipment had previously meant patients had to visit hospitals to benefit.
But a new appliance the size of a handheld radio will allow people to treat themselves at home up to eight times a day.
Migraines affect around ten million adults in the UK. Symptoms include painful headaches as well as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to noises and light.
Dr Anna Andreou, director of headache research at the NHS trust, said patients struggle to get to a clinic for treatment while suffering from a migraine.
She told The Times: ‘Migraines are very debilitating. All you want to do is lie down in a dark, quiet room and try to control your nausea and vomiting. It is a horrible disorder.’
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She added: ‘What’s really great about the sTMS device is that the treatment is safe, non-invasive and portable.
‘It works especially well for patients who have not responded sufficiently to previous medications or need to avoid taking certain drugs because they have another health condition.’
The hospital’s headache centre is the sole NHS unit offering the devices, but other doctors may be able to prescribe them if funding requests are approved. Dr Andreou said ‘about 60 per cent’ of patients see migraines cut by a third.
Migraines affect around ten million adults in the UK. Symptoms include painful headaches as well as nausea. File image used
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