Medtronic Inc. says that stimulating the occipital nerve in the spine may help relieve migraine headaches.
The company, based in Fridley, said on Friday that results from a clinical show that patients undergoing the treatment experienced a significant reduction in migraines.
In the study, a pulse generator delivered low bursts of electricity to the occipital nerves, located in the spinal cord, which carries sensory signals to the brain.
Of the 66 patients who received the therapy, 39 percent (11 patients) said they experienced 50 percent less migraine days says per month. Overall, the patients reported an average of 27 percent fewer headaches days per month after three months of treatment.
“Migraine affects more than 28 million people and for up to 14 percent of those people, their migraines become chronic and can severely affect quality of life,” Dr. Joel R. Saper, founder and director of the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute and the study’s principal investigator, said in a statement.
“The patients in this study had been unsuccessful in controlling their debilitating, frequent migraines,” he said. “The positive impact [therapy] had on the migraines in these severely impaired study participants is promising and supports the need for ongoing study of this therapy.”
The study was published in the international headache journal Cephalalgia.