Could this be the most effective and easy way to treat migraines? 36



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For migraine sufferers, it can feel like there’s no relief or long term solution. But we’ve heard about this pretty quirky idea that some swear gets rid of a painful headache instantly.

A new trial is looking into claims that a puff of air into the ear could help treat migraines.

Symptoms of a migraine include severe headaches, nausea and/or vomiting, and fatigue however the cause of the condition is largely unknown.

Theories of causes for migraines range from blood vessels in the brain widening to brain cells activating the face’s trigeminal nerve – causing a release of chemicals which then causes blood vessels on the brain’s surface to swell.

But all of that pain could be gone with a puff of air, say scientists. In fact this could be one of the most promising developments in migraine treatment yet. Modulated air insufflation of the ear canal could allow access to the trigeminal nerve and can therefore stop the pain signals reaching the brain.

A pneumatic otoscope, which is similar to those used by GPs to measure the amount of fluid behind the eardrum, is used to puff air into the air constantly, for up to 20 minutes.

The new trial is being undertaken by the Carrick Institute in Arizona, where scientists will use the device on 25 migraine sufferers who will receive a single session during an attack. These patients will then gauge the severity of their symptoms both before and after the air treatment, reports TV3.

“The mechanism of the proposed treatment is likely to work via stimulation of the nerves in the ear canal and to the ear drum,” Dr Andy Dowson, chairman of the charity Migraine Action’s medical advisory board, said of the trial.

“In migraines, the brain is oversensitive and easily stimulated by messages from the sensory nervous system. This technique would effectively reset the signals.

“It will be very interesting to see how studies go”.


Tell us: do you suffer from migraines? What treatment has worked for you?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Yep I would try I was up again last night with a migraine, I would try anything, it is not only the pain you suffer but the lack of sleep take its toll

    2 REPLY
    • One thing that used to help me was rubbing tiger balm on my temples and forehead then the good old dark room with eyes closed.

  2. Luckily my migraines are now under control with preventative tablets but there is nothing worse than a migraine so I would have tried this method – heaven’s knows I tried everything else they came up with unsuccessfully.

    2 REPLY
    • I take Topirimate Sandoz 25mg under the supervision of a Melbourne Specialist in Neurology who I was referred to years ago. I cannot believe the difference he made to my life and I also got him to treat my then teenage daughter with the same success ( but slightly different tablet).

  3. I spray Magnesium Oil on my forehead, temples and back of neck when I have a migraine. It works well.

  4. My migraines stopped once I had gone through menopause. In the last ten years I have only had one migraine.

    3 REPLY
    • just got a phone call !! dental appointment February is much better than a 6 month wait just to see them.. thanks for the help Ruth xo

    • You’re lucky.
      I have been on the waiting list since March last year.
      But yours is urgent. Mine is just a check up.

    • Same here Ruth. I had them from 17 years old except when I was pregnant or on the pill. Then after meno they gradually eased off. Now I only get the odd one 🙂

  5. Would try any thing to stop them , mine have eased , but they still scare the crap out of me , as I know when one is coming and know the pain I’m going to have, I can hardly wait to vomit as I know its coming to the end , good luck every one , I feel for you all

    1 REPLY
  6. My pharmacist put me onto Panadol Extra – Panadol with Caffeine. It has made an amazing difference to the pain and suffering I’ve had over the past 50+ years, much faster acting than Mersyndol which was my previous medication. Retirement from being a secondary teacher has also dramatically reduced the frequency of my migraines. Surprise surprise!!!

    1 REPLY
  7. Too many causes for migraines to find a one-fit cure. Try anything, then one might work and it would be eureka! And if it doesn’t involve medication, even better. I’d give this a go, weird as it sounds.

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