Hand-held device to replace pills for treating severe headaches

Put down the painkillers because the future is now. A new high-tech gadget will be used to treat severe headaches according to the head of the National Health Service of England.

Sufferers of cluster headaches won’t have to reach for pills to alleviate the pain with the new hand-held device. Cluster headache is an extremely painful and chronic condition that is often mistaken for migraines. The condition is considered by medical science to one of the most debilitating. So much so, that women often describe the excruciating pain as worse than birthing a child.

The device is known as gammaCore and can also treat migraines. However, it is being debuted initially for cluster headaches. It is applied to the neck and delivers a small electric current every two minutes.

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, announced the medical innovation at the Reform health conference in London on Wednesday.

According to Aussie organization, Headache Australia, cluster headaches affect an estimate of 14,000 Australians.

The organization lists the symptoms of cluster headaches as:

  • excruciating, boring, burning pain (much more severe than migraine) localized around one eye
  • pain very pronounced behind one eye, commonly radiating to the forehead, temple, cheek and upper gum on the same side of the face
  • drooping of the eyelid, watering eye that may become bloodshot, running or blocked
  • nostril on the affected side
  • steady rather than throbbing pain
  • attacks of 15 – 180 minutes
  • 1-3 attacks per day
  • attacks can occur on consecutive days for 6-8 weeks
  • remission periods of months to years
  • the onset of pain about an hour after going to bed.
Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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