CINCINNATI -- Jacqueline Knox has experienced debilitating migraines for as long as she can remember, and she's tried every available treatment to lessen the ache.
"You want to slam your head against the wall to stop the pain," she said.
Nothing worked as well as Botox, she said. Although botulinum toxin is best-known for its cosmetic uses, its paralytic properties can also be used to control spasms and relax tensed-up muscles, treating a wide variety of conditions.
According to Knox, she went from experiencing around 15 severe headaches each month to just one.
But for migraine patients who are wary of Botox, University of Cincinnati Health physician and facial pain specialist Dr. Brinder Vij offers a more futuristic solution: Cefaly, a little silver device that looks like a cyborg implant and functions by sending electric micro-pulses through a user's nervous system.
These pulses don't hurt, to be clear -- they stimulate the trigeminal nerve, which controls facial sensation, to reduce headache pain.
"Micro-stimulation to the area helps the nerve endings to produce endorphins, which are natural, pain-relieving radicals,” Vij said in a news release. "Cefaly vibrates, stimulating the area, and floods that physiological gate with non-painful signals -- crowding out any painful signals that are trying to get through to the brain."
According to Cefaly's manufacturers, 75 percent of clinical patients reported their "migraine days" were reduced by half after using Cefaly for 20 minutes once daily.
"It's an exciting time in headache medicine," Vij said. "Things are changing."
Think Cefaly might be the solution you need? Vij is exploring its applications at the UC Health West Chester Hospital.