Finding effective stress headache relief can be quite elusive. In my personal experience that is. Here are some easy options, I did not say cheap!
I went to the big shot, expensive pain specialist to see if there was any new technology to help stop migraine attacks.
This was a first for me. Finding a migraine pain specialist has been ridiculously difficult.
After a two month wait, I arrive at the air conditioned office only to see a couple making out on the couch.
Not really what I expected.
But I did know his wife, in the same practice, was a neuro-psychologist. I assumed they were there for couples therapy. Anyway, long story short, he gave me four options but recommended surgery or the gammaCore device.
He did not mention biofeedback or the Cefaly device which have been around for years now. Biofeedback is widely used for migraine relief, but what about these other solutions?
What is our best option if medications, or what we are doing doesn't stop the pain?
Some electrical devices require surgery, and this is a last resort for me.
I am just not prepared to spend thousands of dollars on anything that has no 100% guarantee of stopping the pain. So surgery is out.
A number of studies suggest that biofeedback training is useful and can be as effective as beta blockers. It has very good results in reducing stress related headaches once you get the hang of it. As does meditation.
Some insurance carriers and health funds cover professional biofeedback training sessions now, so if you can't afford to buy a device this might be another option for you. There are also versions you can buy to learn on your own without a therapist.
I use the Wild Divine Biofeedback System, because it’s more like doing a meditation. And I trust the people behind it.
It took me awhile to get through the levels, but it was worth it. Just to be clear - biofeedback has not eliminated my migraine attacks (yet - I remain hopeful), but it does help with anxiety and coping day to day with them in my life.
The pain specialists' number two choice was the gammaCore device.
The gammaCore is approximately $500 (AUD) and they give a 45 day money back guarantee. It has a limited number of doses, I think the nurse mentioned ten.
As it already cost me almost $1,000 to see the pain specialist twice (initial and then again for results from other specialists) and almost another $1,000 dollars for an MRI and to see the other specialists he needed to form his conclusion. Which was ... drum roll .... chronic migraines.
It was a costly exercise in obtaining an up to date current pain management strategy. But I have recently moved interstate and needed the new contacts to form my new support team.
I was very disappointed with his occipital nerve stimulation surgery selection (costing $43,000 Australian dollars I might add without private health cover), with only a small percentage of potential success. I did get a good physiotherapist and psychologist referral out of it.
The gammaCore is designed specifically to treat: Migraines, Cluster Headache, and Hemicrania Continua and Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH) in adults. The treatment location is on the Vagus Nerve at the front side of the neck. Where you take your pulse.
I have written this article on the device if you'd like more details on migraine headache relief with gammaCore.
The Cefaly device is approved in the United States.
It has been promoted a lot over the years but I just never felt it would work for my migraines. I have not had a pull to try this one.
You can rent them for two months in Europe and three months here. So just Google Cefaly and your location to give it a test run.
It seems to cost about fifty to sixty five dollars or so to rent per month give or take with exchange rates.
If you live in the US you can order on online from Cefaly.us.
The device itself costs around $295 (plus $29 for shipping) and you will need a three-pack of electrodes that costs $25.
You will need to send or email a copy of your prescription to them before they will send your order.
This device has flown off the shelf in the US, so be ready for a waiting period. And if you need help with costs, contact your insurance company before buying it to see if you can claim it.
Also make sure you have what you need from your doctor.
They are sold in Costco in Canada. That just sounds too easy, but worth looking into to find stress headache relief.
Here is what the Cefaly is indicated for treating:
• Common migraine
• Migraine with aura
• Chronic migraine
• Menstrual migraine
• Episodic migraine
• Chronic headache
• Ophthalmic migraine
• Occipital neuralgia
• Anterior tension type headache
• Posterior tension type headache
The Cefaly device is a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device. This isn’t new technology for migraines, but it is still considered new technology.
I am not convinced it helps everyone, but there are loads of success stories.
What I do like is that we now have access to stopping our attacks when we need to - before the symptoms get right out hand. It is a convenient medication free treatment, if it works.
It is not said to cure migraines, but it has proven a reduction in the frequency and severity of attacks.
The big plus for me is the 75% reduction in medications required it advertises on the website.
I’d like to hear from more people, the good and bad, before I spend that kind of time and money investing in another new treatment. So leave your comments in Facebook below.
A few years ago, I spent $1,100 on a Scenar device which I was told would help reduce or stop my attacks all together if I used it just before the attack. It didn’t help at all. If anything, it made them worse by starting my vomiting cycle all over again.
If I wait too long to take my triptan, it can last ten days instead of three. I learned about tipping point in this e-book Mindfulness Over Migraines. I highly recommend it. It changed how I manage my attacks. THE best $6.99 I ever spent!
The Scenar did work wonders for increasing my energy levels, and my happiness levels.
Here are some other ideas for less expensive stress headache relief options.
Talk to your doctor and see what s/he has had good results with. Or get a referral to a specialist that has more experience with migraines and successful (cutting edge) migraine treatments.
If you want some more help to find stress headache relief, biofeedback is another option as I mentioned above. It has the most scientific evidence behind it, and is now covered by many health care systems.
If you have the time, seeing a professional psychologist or specialist who can train you to use a biofeedback machine will get you sorted. I use Wild Divine biofeedback, it trained me itself.
I suggest finding a couple of things that work for you, and then make sure you are always prepared. Check out the help for migraines tool kit for more ideas.
Please don’t get discouraged!
If one of the things above don’t work, try something else. There are so many excellent treatments available for stress headache relief.
And remember there are new inventions all the time to help with migraines, like the Cefaly and the gammaCore.
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