New option for headache relief - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

New option for headache relief

Turning off your TV is simple - you just hit a button on your remote. Now, a new push button device can literally zap some peoples headaches before they're even in pain.

There was a time when Lori Jarreau's headaches made her life miserable. She says, "It was throbbing, it was just a throbbing pain that just would not go away."

That was before Jarreau made the trip from her St. Francisville, Louisiana home to New Orleans where she met LSU Health Sciences neurosurgeon Erich Richter.

Now, Jarreau has an implantable pulse generator - it's just beneath the skin at the base of her back. Tiny wires connect the device to electrodes in the patient's scalp.

Now whenever Jarreau feels a headache coming on, she can zap it by pushing the button on her remote control. That sets off electrical impulses that travel along her back to nerves in her head.  

The electricity short circuits signals that could have triggered a crippling headache.

Jarreau says she can feel the impulses working. She says it's "mostly a tingling sensation."

In addition to the relief they get, Richter says - over time - some patients with IPG's notice they're having fewer headaches. "Many people will use it a lot right at the beginning. Then the headaches kind of settle down and 6 months in, they use it some, but not as much as they were."

After trying every medication she could - even resorting to major surgery to correct a problem doctors thought may be responsible for her headaches, but wasn't - Lori Jarreau couldn't be happier with the results she's gotten from her implantable pulse generator. "It's like I have a normal life back."

The device may not work for everyone, but if you have severe headaches, it may be worth discussing with your doctor.

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