advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Magnetic Stimulation for Migraines?

I get migraine headaches. A friend recently told me about an electronic device that can prevent them. Have you heard of it?

A
Answer (Published 9/8/2006)

Researchers from Ohio State University Medical Center recently described treatment with a device that emits a magnetic field to treat migraines.  The equipment is reportedly used to interrupt migraines early on, when patients first begin to experience the “aura” that often precedes the headaches. An aura can be anything from a tingling sensation to blurred or cloudy vision, seeing flashing lights, shooting stars or zigzagging lines or in some cases having tunnel vision. Auras can also take the form of pins-and-needles sensations in the hand and arm as well as the nose, mouth, and tongue.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

The treatment, called “transcranial magnetic stimulation” (TMS) is said to work by painlessly re-setting hyperactive neurons in the brain that trigger a chain reaction leading to migraines. The TMS unit used in the study is approved by the FDA as an investigational device and is also being studied for treatment of depression and seizures. Migraine patients participating in a small study reported to the hospital at the first sign of an aura. Then, the stimulator was placed at the back of the patient’s head to deliver two magnetic pulses, 30 seconds apart.

The method was tested on 42 patients, 19 of whom received a placebo treatment. Lead researcher Yousef Mohammad, an assistant professor of neurology, reported that 69 percent of those treated reported little to no pain two hours afterward, compared to only 48 percent in the placebo group. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society in June, 2006. Researchers plan a larger study to see if results hold up.

Since only 20 to 25 percent of migraine patients experience auras, this treatment isn’t for everyone. Instead, if you’re looking for a way to prevent migraines, you might consider butterbur (Petasites hybridus), a plant native to Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia. Results of a small study published in the May, 2000, issue of the journal Headache showed that an extract of butterbur root significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks among the 58 patients participating. If you decide to try it, avoid the crude herb, which contains toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Instead, choose PA-free butterbur extracts standardized to contain a minimum of 7.5 mg of petasin and isopetasin. The adult dosage ranges from 50-100 mg twice daily with meals. Side effects are rare.

Another option is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). A study published in the February 22, 2005, issue of Neurology found that CoQ10 was superior to a placebo in terms of preventing migraines. Researchers tested CoQ10 among a group of 43 patients, about half of whom received a placebo. Of the patients who took CoQ10 50 percent got relief compared to only 14 percent of those who took the placebo. Dosage of CoQ10 in the trial was 100 mg three times daily.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) can also be helpful, as can magnesium and the herb feverfew, which is available at health food stores. The recommended dose of riboflavin is 400 mg daily – a pretty high dose, which needs to be prescribed by a physician. Recommended dosage for magnesium is anywhere between 400-600 mg daily, sometimes higher. Dosage of feverfew is 100-250 mg of an extract standardized to 0.7 percent parthenolides. You should first try these therapies individually, and allow enough time - usually six to eight weeks - to experience a change and then judge results before trying the next.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here