Electronic Nerve/Muscle Stimulation Devices
Nerve stimulation devices helps ease chronic nerve pain and can help patients who develop (POTS), migraines and fibromyalgia.
Cefaly- My absolute favorite migraine tool just got updated in the US! If you have the prevention only device, you can trade it in for the new device that has two settings- one for prevention, one for migraine attacks. The Canadian version also has a setting for stress reduction, so hopefully we will get that eventually, too! Cefaly is a neuromodulator of the trigeminal nerve, the main nerve implicated in migraine. It helps the nerve encourage endorphin (happiness/ain relief messenges) release and it helps to higher the pain threshold of a migraine. One of the most compelling aspects of Cefaly is that there are no side effects. Compare that to the never ending list of potential dangers associated with migraine medications, both those designed for migraine attacks and migraine prevention. Because of this, it is one of the few measures FDA cleared to be used in pregnancy.
The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) controls many involuntary functions such as heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, pupil dilation, digestion, and breathing rate. Dysautonomia is a lack of proper regulation or control of these functions. This can occur after concussion. Unfortunately, it can often go undiagnosed as the most obvious symptoms (dizziness, fainting) are immediately attributed to post-concussion vestibular system deficits. The body should be in a balance between the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or Flight Mode) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest and Digest Mode.) However, after a brain injury, the body convinces itself that it is constantly under attack, therefore continuously living under Sympathetic firing. This prevents the healing state that occurs with the Parasympathetic System. When the body is always in crisis mode, it has no time to attend to long-term problems. Irritable Bowel, immune suppression, hormone/ endocrine abnormalities, and psychiatric disorders can arise. The Vagus Nerve, or Cranial Nerve 10, helps turn on the parasympathetic system. Therefore, strengthening exercises for this nerve can help get us out of a permanent sympathetic state. Luckily, these can be really easy exercises- gargling, gagging, and singing loudly can have an excellent effect. A TENS unit can be used like this in severe cases. One ear piece should be set on the lobe and the other on the concha of the ear.