Medications have helped many people impacted by migraines, but now there’s a new FDA-approved non-drug treatment that offers relief. It’s a wearable electric-stimulation device for people who prefer nondrug relief…don’t get relief (or enough relief) from treatments such as triptans or nonspecific migraine medications…or experience unwanted side effects from those drugs. Called Nerivio, it also can be used in tandem with medications for greater pain relief.
Unlike earlier stimulation devices that are placed on the head, Nerivio goes on the upper arm and can be discreetly covered by clothing. It works by delivering electrical stimulation to the peripheral nerves in the arm. This relays pain-sensitive information to the brain, triggering the release of chemicals to reduce the pain signals that occur during a migraine. Important: Start treatment as early as possible, but always within 60 minutes of migraine headache or aura onset.
Participants who wore the armbands in a recent clinical trial experienced relief lasting up to 48 hours after the treatment.
Through an app on your smartphone, you set the intensity level yourself. It should feel strong but comfortable and not painful. Available by prescription, each armband delivers 12 45-minute treatments and costs $99. (There are no rechargeable versions yet.)
Note that Nervio is not for people with chronic migraine.* Also, the device is not recommended for anyone with a severe heart condition, uncontrolled epilepsy or any implanted medical device.
*Defined as having a migraine at least eight days a month and a total of at least 15 headaches a month for more than three months.