In an attempt to help counter the ongoing crisis of opioid overdose in the US, the FDA has announced that devices for controlling pain can get through the approval process faster.
This may mean that in the near future, we may have access to more drug-free treatments for migraines. But there’s even better news: you may already be able to get drug-free treatment for your migraines.
Opioids Overused for Headaches
One of the driving forces behind the opioid epidemic in the US is that the drugs are overused in situations where they aren’t appropriate. For example, about half of all teens who see their doctor for headaches are given opioids.
The situation is similar in US hospital emergency departments, where about half of all people who show up with a severe headache leave with a prescription for opioid medication (and two-thirds are given opioids at the hospital).
Devices Given Accelerated Approval
In an attempt to cut down on the use of opioids for chronic pain, the FDA has announced an accelerated approval process for devices that treat chronic pain without drugs. Some device manufacturers have already applied for this special treatment, including makers of anti-migraine devices.
One of these devices is Halo, produced by Stimwave. It took years for Stimwave’s wireless spinal cord stimulators, called Freedom, to get approved. Now the company hopes it can get its anti-migraine device approved in mere months. The basic principle for the device is that it uses tiny electrodes to introduce a tiny current directly to nerves. Because the current doesn’t have to penetrate the skin, it can be very small, just over 1 mm in diameter. This means the devices can basically be injected right where it needs to be.
However, it seems premature to approve a device before important clinical trials have even begun.
Drug-Free Headache Treatment Available
Although opioids are commonly overused in the treatment of migraines and other headaches, they don’t have to be. There are already drug-free migraine treatments that doctors and patients should consider before they resort to drugs for pain relief.
At the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado, we see many patients with chronic headaches. Sometimes, they have even been diagnosed with migraines (although this is a common misdiagnosis). Often, our patients have been unhappily struggling with headaches for years. They may have received numerous prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants and pain relievers. However, they weren’t getting the relief these medications promised. But thanks to TMJ treatment, they finally got relief.
If you’re unhappy with the results of your current headache care, we can help. Please call (303) 691-0267 today for an appointment with a Denver headache dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.