Excruciating Headaches Can Now Be ‘Zapped Away’ With New NHS Device That Blocks Pain

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  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    Excruciating headaches can now be zapped away by a new device available on the NHS.

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    The small, portable gammaCore device is held against the neck and delivers a low-level electric current to block pain signals.

    For people who suffer from cluster headaches and can't be treated with painkillers the device has proven a lifeline over the past two years of NHS trials.

    NHS England is now expanding its use and around 11,000 people are set to benefit from the gammaCore.

    Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “While they may be small, these devices will make a huge difference to people who suffer from these debilitating headaches – relieving painful symptoms and allow people to go about their daily lives as normal.

    “The NHS Long Term Plan committed to making cutting edge treatments and technology available to save and improve lives.

    “This is the latest example of the NHS testing the latest tech and rolling it out at speed for patients across the country.”

    Cluster headaches begin quickly and are often described as a sharp, burning or piercing sensation on one side of the head.

    Attacks last between 15 minutes and three hours and occur up to eight times a day.

    Patients can use the device regularly to prevent cluster headaches or when they feel one starting to come on.

    While rare, the debilitating condition is more common in men and tend to start when they are in their 30s or 40s.

    The device will be deployed for patients who don't respond to previously proven treatments such as triptan, a painkillers used to ease migraines and severe headaches.

    The new technology is being made available as part of the new Medtech Funding Mandate policy, which came into effect on 1 April and allows patients to benefit from fast tracked innovations from the NHS.

    About one to two people in every 1,000 are affected by the rare type of headache and around one in 20 do not respond to traditional methods, including painkillers or oxygen.

    Matthew Whitty, director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, said: “Despite the pandemic, we remain committed to delivering on the ambitious commitments set out in the Long Term Plan to support the latest innovations and allow patients to utilise them across the country, as quickly as possible.

    “The gammaCore device will provide life-changing benefits for thousands of people and it is just one of a number of technologies that are being mandated by the NHS.”

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