GammaCore for Cluster Headaches

MIAMI (KFSN) -- Some patients say the pain is worse than childbirth! We're talking about cluster headaches. Now a little device may provide big relief to the more than 350,000 people in the US who are suffering.

Heather Prattas is a busy, active mom of two young daughters.

"I bike and boot camp and paddleboard," said Prattas.

But something stopped Heather in her tracks: cluster headaches.

Prattas said, "They actually call them suicide headaches because you become suicidal during the headache."

Dr. Teshamae Monteith says cluster headaches can affect both men and women. It strikes one side of the head and can occur several times a day for months called a cluster bout.

"An individual attack can last up to three hours, but then it can occur multiple times a day," explained Dr. Monteith.

Because there has been little research into the cause, there are few treatments. Heather has been on ten different medications; oxygen was the only thing that worked.

Prattas said, "A tank will last me 2 or 3 headaches."

Now there may be something better.

"The Gammacore is a non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator," said Dr. Monteith.

It works by stimulating the vagus nerve and blocking pain signals that cause cluster attacks.

Dr. Monteith continued, "So the idea of stimulating the nerve to disrupt the pain signal is a way of potentially helping patients."

Patients can control the level of stimulation. They apply it to the neck for up to two minutes. Heather hopes the little device will help.

"That would be a godsend, absolutely," Prattas said.

Relieving the pain so she can get back to what's important.

Many patients enrolled in clinical trials reported getting relief within 15 minutes of using the Gammacore device.

It has been approved by the FDA for cluster headaches, and recently migraines.

LINK: Information on GammaCore

Kai Hill
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