Many migraineurs experience something known as aura, an early "warning" stage of migraine often followed by a headache. Aura may include things like seeing flashing lights and zig zags. Auras may be related to electrical signals that are zipping around in your brain as the migraine chain-reaction begins.
Researchers at Canada’s McMaster University are developing a new treatment for migraine known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. TMS works on the electrical impulses in the brain to stop the migraine chain-reaction before it goes too far. As with many migraine treatments, it’s not yet fully understood how this works, but it may be something like a "brain reboot" – turning off the migraine program before it has a chance to cause too many adverse symptoms.
The stimulator is a device about the size of a hairdryer which is held against the scalp. The treatment is not painful and does not seem to have any lasting effects – except that it does seem to stop the migraine mid-stream. Some test patients even report that the overall frequency of migraine is reduced.
The treatment is still in the testing phase, but so far reports are hopeful. Similar treatments are being tested for other types of pain, and for disorders such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Read the patient’s point of view at CTV news.